Berlioz is an editor of an anti-religious literary journal and chairs the board of a major Moscow literary assocation called Massolit. He meets Woland with his young companion Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev. Woland, who scoffs at Berlioz' skepticism about religion, correctly predicts that his head will be cut off at the hands of of a Russian woman in some incident involving sunflower oil, and sure enough, Berlioz slips on sunflower oil at the train station, falls onto the tracks, and his head is cut off by the train, which is being driven by a woman. Berlioz shares a last name with the French composer, Hector Berlioz, who wrote "The Damnation of Faust." His character satirizes atheistic and bureaucratic elements of Soviet society during the early part of the 20th century.
He is described as "about forty... short, plump, dark-haired and partly bald," with a "clean-shaven face" and "supernaturally large eyeglasses in a black frame."
Satan. He is described as looking to be in his forties, with a twisted mouth and a smooth shaven face. "His right eye was black; the left, for some strange reason, green. Black eyebrows, but one higher than the other." His "high bald forehead" is "cleft by deep lines running parallel to the pointed eyebrows."
Ivan Nikolaevich Ponyrev, or Homeless
A poet employed by Berlioz to write an anti-religious poem. He witnesses Berlioz's death and attempts to explain Woland's involvment to the authorities, but is taken to a mental institution where he meets the Master. He is "a broad-shouldered young man with a mop of shaggy red hair."
He is described in Woland's tale to Berlioz and Ivan, and then through the Master's novel. He has incredible misgivings about sentencing Yeshua (Jesus), who has a strange hold over him, and indirectly orders the death of Judas.
He is Jesus, sentenced to death by Pontius Pilate. He is from the city of Gamala and his father was a Syrian, but he is a wanderer with no permanent home. He is described in Woland's story and in the Master's novel.
A grossly disfigured and enormous centurion who heads military forces that operate under Pilate, who saved him in a battle.
A former tax collector, he has been following Yeshua and writing on a parchment. He sits and watches Yeshua's execution in misery. Eventually, he is sent to ask Woland to grant the Master and Margarita peace.
The prisoner freed in place of Yeshua, in accordance with the tradition around the time of Passover to release one prisoner to the people. He is "far more dangerous than Ha-Nozri," having killed a soldier.
The President of the Sanhedrin, High Priest of the Hebrews. He meets Pilate on the upper terrace of the garden and demands that Bar-Rabban be the prisoner who is released, rather than Yeshua.
The poet who carries Homeless to the asylum, where Homeless calls him a fool and a saboteur. He becomes very worn out over the whole ordeal.
Stepan Bogdanovich "Styopa" Likhodeyev
The director of the Variety Theater, who is spirited away to Yalta by Woland.
A short, broad-shouldered man with a bowler hat and a fang jutting out of his mouth, and fiery red hair and a nasal voice.
Grigory Danilovich Rimsky
Likhodeyev's boss, the financial director of the Variety Show. After he is frightened in his office by Varenukha, who has been turned into a vampire, his hair turns white and he escapes on a train.
The well-known master of ceremonies at Woland's performance. He upsets Woland by interfering, explaining, and "lying" about what he is doing, so Behemoth rips his head off, then reattaches it.
One of Satan's cronies, who often accompanies Behemoth the cat. "His mustache looked like chicken feathers, his eyes were small, ironic and half-drunk, and his tight trousers were of a checkered material and pulled up so high that they exposed the dirty white socks." He describes himself to Berlioz and Ivan as an ex-choirmaster.
Ivan Savelievich Varenukha
The house manager at the Variety Theater, who disappears after being kissed by Hella. He reappears as a vampire, and scares Rimsky in the office of the Variety Theater.
The housekeeper of Styopa and Berlioz in apartment number 50, who is sent away by Woland on errands before he starts causing mischief.
Nikanor Ivanovich Bosoy
Chairman of the tenants' association of no. 302-bis on Sadovaya Street in Moscow where Berlioz and Styopa lived. Framed by Koroviev for foreign currency speculation.
Wife of Nikanor Ivanovich, was cooking a marrow bone for him when the police arrive and arrest him. Not understanding that he was innocent, she implores her husband to repent. He calls her a "damned fool" and is taken away.
Maximilian Andreevich Poplavsky
Uncle of Berlioz, who comes to Moscow to try to acquire his nephew's apartment as his closest living relative. Koroviev is in hysterics when he arrives. The cat informs him that his attendance at the funeral has been cancelled, and Azazello shows him out. He is an industrial economist, and is described as both extremely intelligent and practical. His terrifying experience may be a result of his sinful greediness and selfishness.
He records the events of Yeshua's hearing on parchment, reacting to Yeshua's words and anticipating the reactions of Pilate.
One of the outlaws executed with Yeshua Ha-Nozri. He and Gestas had instigated the people to rebellion against Caesar.
One of the outlaws executed with Ha-Nozri. He and Dismas had instigated the people to rebellion against Caesar.
A novelist who waits for Berlioz to arrive at the meeting at Griboyedov's. He is "a quiet, neatly dressed man with attentive yet elusive eyes."
A poet who waits for Berlioz to arrive at the meeting at Griboyedov's. He wears yellow, rubber-soled shoes.
Nastasya Lukinishna/Pilot George
A female writer who waits for Berlioz to arrive at the meeting at Griboyedov's. She speaks in a low contralto.
An author of popular sketches, who waits for Berlioz to arrive at the meeting at Griboyedov's.
A critic who waits for Berlioz to arrive at the meeting at Griboyedov's.
A scenario writer who waits for Berlioz to arrive at the meeting at Griboyedov's.
The deputy chairman of MASSOLIT, who identifies Berlioz's body when he is summoned by telephone.
A former buccaneer, described as "a dazzlingly handsome black-eyed man with a dagger-shaped beard." He is feared and respected at Griboyedov's.
The sketch writer at whose summer home Styopa spent the night before the morning he wakes up to meet Woland in his apartment. Woland describes Khustov as "a scoundrel, a gossip, a toady, and parasite."
The "chief" at the mental hospital where Ivan and the Master are committed. He is described as, "a man of about forty-five, as carefully shaved as an actor, with pleasant but very penetrating eyes, and a courteous manner."
The doctor at the mental hospital who greets Ivan when he is committed, and whom Doctor Stravinsky instructs to let Ivan go before convincing the patient that he should actually stay. He has a pointed beard.
Timofey Kondratievich Kvastsoy,
A neighbor of the Nikanor Ivanovich, who overhears what happens when the chairman is apprehended for having foreign currency hidden in his toilet. He takes pleasure in it, and reports it to the other tenants.
The devil's female companion, whose kiss abducts Varenukha in the garden outside the Variety Theater. She is always naked, "red-haired, with burning phosphorescent eyes." She also has a huge scar on her neck. Woland describes her as "efficient, quick-witted, and there is no service she cannot perform."
The fat nurse at the mental hospital where Ivan and The Master are residents.
Arkady Apollonovich Sempleyarov
A citizen who attends Woland's performance, and whose extramarital affair is revealed by Koroviev/Fagot after he demands to know how the tricks were done. He is chairman of the Acoustical Commission, and testifies about the events of the performance.
The editorial secretary who rejected the Master's novel. He describes her to Ivan as "a young woman with eyes that squinted permanently at her own nose from constant lying."
A critic who negatively reviews the Master's novel.
A writer on the editorial board that rejected the Master's novel. He advocates in an article the "striking out hard" against "Pilatism."
The critic who writes the most scathing review of the Master's novel in an article entitled, "Militant Old Believer." He has ash blond hair and looks like a priest.
When the reader meets him, he has been a mental patient of Professor Stravinsky for four months. He is "a man of about thirty-eight, clean-shaven, dark-haired, with a pointed nose, anxious eyes, and a lock of hair hanging over his forehead." He is a trained historian and speaks five languages.
She is introduced to the reader through the Master's recounting of their relationship to Ivan. She met him when she was carrying yellow flowers, and was ready to take poison to kill herself because her life was so empty. She is beautiful with "extraordinary loneliness in her eyes." She is thirty years old with no children.
Vasily Stepanovich Lastochkin
The bookkeeper at the Variety Theater, who takes charge after all the higher-up officials disappear. He is quiet and modest, and after running about the city trying to solve the mystery, is arrested for being associated with the theater.
The Commissioner on Spectacles and Light Entertainment. After shouting at Behemoth, "The devil take me!" he disappears and only his suit remains, operating independently.
The beautiful private secretary of Prokhor Petrovich. She informs Vasily Stepanovich of the strange events that led up to the commissioner's disappearance.
Maxamilian Andreyevich Poplavsky
Berlioz's uncle from Kiev, who hurries to Moscow upon receiving a telegram about his nephew's death, with the intention of acquiring the vacated apartment.
Andrey Fokich Sokov
The small, elderly bartender and manager of the buffet at the Variety Theater. Along with Berlioz's uncle Poplavsky, he is scared away from apartment Number 50 in Chapter 18. He has visited Woland to complain that the money Koroviev distributed at the performance was fake, and has cost the bar. When Woland predicts that he will die of liver cancer, he seeks the help of Professor Kuzmin.
The liver specialist with whom Sokov speaks after learning he is to die of liver cancer in nine months. Kuzmin finds an orphaned black kitten in his office, and a sparrow doing the fox trot on his desk.
This character really existed; he was the doctor who treated Bulgakov in the 1930s.
He adores his wife, although she is unhappy with him. He is a "very prominent specialist, who had made an important discovery of utmost value to his country," and is young and handsome.
Margarita's house servant, who also uses Azazello's cream. She wishes to remain a witch.
Woland describes him as "remarkably impartial and sympathizes equally with both contending sides." He appears as "a gaunt man in dark glasses." The name Abaddon comes from the Hebrew word that is pronounced "avaddon," which means destruction or destructor.
One of the dead guests at Satan's ball. She wears a Spanish boot on her left foot. When she was alive, she helped women kill their husbands by poisoning their soup. She was strangled by her jailers, and so in death she wears a green ribbon around her neck.
A guest at Satan's ball with whom Margarita sympathizes, and on whose behalf Margarita asks Satan for mercy. She is "about twenty years old - an extarordinary beauty, but with oddly restless and importunate eyes." She gave birth to an illegitimate child and killed it by gagging it with her handkerchief. In death, she is plagued by the handkerchief, which she cannot destroy.
Baron Meigel enters Satan's ball alone, and is killed by the devil for being a spy. The character is based on Baron Boris Sergeevich Shteiger (1892-1937), who worked in Moscow at the People's Commissariat for Enlightening, Department Visual Arts, the Narkompros, and as an agent of the NKVD. In 1937 he was arrested and shot.
He wrote a denunciation of the Master after reading Latunsky's article, and moved into basement apartment himself. Woland sends him flying out the window, and summarily removes Mogarych's name from the landlord's house registry book so that the Master and Margarita might resume residency there.
Nicknamed "The Plague," this wizened little woman spilled the sunflower oil that inadvertently caused Berlioz's death. She also finds the diamond horseshoe that was a gift from Woland to Margarita.
The head of Pontius Pilate's secret police, with whom Pilate consults in secret. He is described only as a mysterious cowled man until Chapter 25, when he indirectly receives the order from Pilate to kill Yehudah. He is described as "a man of middle age, with an extremely pleasant, round, tidy face and a fleshy nose. His hair was of an indeterminate color. The principal characteristic of his face was perhaps its expression of good humor, which was, however, contradicted by the eyes, or rather by his manner of looking at those he spoke to. Ordinarily, he kept his small eyes covered by his rather strange, somewhat puffy eyelids. At such times the narrow slits shone with a not unkindly slyness."
Yehudah of Kerioth
He is Judas, and tricks Yeshua into declaring his treasonous opinions in front of the secret police. His death is ordered by Pilate and carried out by Aphranius. He works in one of his relative's moneychanging shops, is young and extremely handsome, and only has a passion for money.
The chief of the program section of the Entertainment Commission, who testifies that Styopa Likhodeyev had never submitted for his approval of the program put on by Woland at the Variety Theater.
The woman at the door of Griboyedov's, who refuses entrance to Koroviev and Behemoth until Archibald Archibaldovich appears and tells her to let them enter.
The Master and Margarita Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Master and Margarita is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.