Taras Bulba Literary Elements

Taras Bulba Literary Elements


Historical narrative

Setting and Context

First half of 17th century, the events take place in Ukraine and Poland.

Narrator and Point of View

The main stages of the plot: exposition, initial point, development action, culmination of the events, denouement, epilogue. The novel is recounted by a third-person, who describes the historical events and the future of Ukraine.

Tone and Mood

The tone and mood of the story is different. When the author describes the Cossacks’s everyday life, he uses easy- tempered tone. The mood is frightful during the fights. When Gogol describes the steppe and countryside, he uses the euphoric and lyric mood.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Taras Bulba, the antagonists are Polish conquerors.

Major Conflict

The main conflict of this story is a sense of duty before the motherland. Ostap is a whole- hearted and courageous Cossack. Andrii is betrayer of his family and motherland.


The climax happens when Taras kills his son Andrii. Love for Polish Miss is sweeter and more important to Andrii than his family and homeland.


The reader can notice the foreshadowing when Andrii falls in love with the Polish young lady and renounce of his motherland. His further fate is obvious.


Though being very vividly described, some actions during the battles are sometimes concealed, but only slightly mentioned. Cossacks’ attacks are not described as it really happened at those times concerning peaceful population, they did not pity either old or women.


Some words such as Cossack, Zaporizhska Sich, Cossack regiment and sabre affirm that historical actions take place in Kyiv Russ (the modern territory of Ukraine) in 17th century.


The author provides the reader with vivid descriptions of nature, which are crucial to understand the mood of the heroes, and also these descriptions serve as a background for atmosphere of battles and fights.


The paradox is that moment, where the author describes the death of Andrii. His own father kills him. Maybe, nobody could determine to inflict damage on their own children.



Metonymy and Synecdoche



The war between Cossacks and Poles has a human and ruthless character. It hurts deeply, destroys many lives and causes conflicts between people. It is a personification of the evil people, who always bears ill will.

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