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Written by Anastasia Melnyk
The fight for the Homeland
This topic is the most essential: the Cossacks fought with the Poles and the Tartars, though this episode is not described in the text of the work. Cossacks go to Poland not just because of boredom or to warm up and harden young warriors in the fighting. Cossacks are deeply offended by the way the Catholic priests treat for the Christian holidays, that they sew outfits of cassocks, that they harness ordinary Christian believers in the cart, humiliating people. This news provoked a strong reaction among the Cossacks, it was a boost to their spirits, and, driven by a thirst for justice and martial ardor, began to gather in a campaign. None of the Cossacks did express any discontent, and even the thought of staying at the Sich, among fights and revelries.
In the battles Cossacks proved themselves as brave and fearless warriors, ready to fight to the last, so as not to stain the honor of the native land. Dying, they uttered a few words that were most appreciated: about the freedom and the Fatherland. For example, wounded Balaban says before his death: "Let the Russian land bloom eternally!" And Kukubenko thanks mates, finishing his speech with the words: "Let people live better after us than we do, and let Christ’s favorite Russian land stay in beauty forever!. Through these images of Cossacks, the reader understands that each Cossack sincerely loved his native land. Each Cossack at the Sich was a true patriot, because he was always ready to defend the freedom and independence of the Motherland, and only then thought about himself.
Loyalty and betrayal
Love to the Motherland, loyalty to military duty, sense of fellowship were considered as the essential qualities among Cossacks. On the eve of a difficult fighting the ataman Taras Bulba said to Cossacks: "There are no ties holier than fellowship". He carries faithfulness to this feeling through all his battles and trials. Faith in the justice of their business they gave their lives for, gave Cossacks power, helped to live through the losses.
Selflessly loving their homeland, Cossacks despised betrayers. But how much Taras was hurt when his younger son turned out to be a betrayer! Andrew was a brave warrior. Old Taras wondered watching Andrew who made wonders with his tremendous pressure. But the young Bulba was mostly attracted to the very battle, rather than to its goal. In the battles he heard magic music of bullets and swords, swept as if drunk with bullets whistling over his head. That is why, when Andrew was asked for help by a beautiful Pole, he betrayed his comrades and defected to the enemy. This son’s act was a grievous woe for the father. Old Colonel cannot forgive treachery of anybody and kills Andrew, saying: "I gave a birth to you, so I’ll kill you!"
Love to the motherland, loyalty to its people, and sense of fellowship make Cossacks invincible. Gogol expressed his capture of Cossacks with following words: “There is no such a heat, pain and a force in the world that would overcome Cossack’s force!"
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