"Gods, gods! What did this woman need? This woman, in whose eyes there always flickered an enigmatic little spark? This witch with just the slightest cast in one eye, who had adorned herself that spring day with mimosa? I do not know."
The leitmotif "O gods, gods!" characteristic of Pilate and the Master appears here in the narrator's own language, as he speaks of Margarita's unhappiness. The use of the first person singular in the last sentence here establishes the narrator as an actual person with limits, rather than omniscient as he sometimes appears to be. However, the reference to Margarita as a witch is significant, as she will later become one.
"Really, I would pawn my soul to the devil to find out whether he is alive or dead."
Margarita says this to herself as she watches Berlioz's funeral procession go by. Immediately, Azazello appears beside her on the bench and starts a conversation. This enforces the theme of characters bringing about their own fates: Margarita's thought acts as a trigger for the devil's interference in her life. It is also prophetic, since she does agree to pawn her soul to the devil.
"Even at night, in moonlight, I have no rest... Why did they trouble me? Oh, gods, gods..."
Woland reads this passage aloud from the manuscript of the Master's novel. The Master thought he had destroyed it by burning it, but Behemoth produces a copy. Not only is this quotation significant because of the leitmotif, "Oh gods, gods..." it also mentions the moonlight, another link between the two worlds. Satan himself reading the words is significant, since the world of Pontius Pilate exists not only in the Master's manuscript, but in Woland's story and memory.
"What would your good be doing if there were no evil, and what would the earth look like if shadows disappeared from it? After all, shadows are cast by objects and people. There is the shadow of my sword. But there are also shadows of trees and living creatures. Would you like to denude the earth of all the trees and all the living beings in order to satisfy your fantasy of rejoicing in the naked light? You are a fool."
Woland says this to Matthu Levi when the disciple of Yeshua Ha-Nozri appears to ask for peace for the Master. He means that although he, Satan, is obviously evil, there is a little bit of shadow in everyone and everything. The analogy of shadow as evil and light as good is a continuance of the prominent image of the sun during Yeshua's hearing in Chapter 2.
"Oh, thrice romantic Master, don't you want to stroll with your beloved by day under the cherries bursting into bloom, and int he evenings listen to Schubert's music? Won't it be pleasant for you to write with a quill by candlelight? Don't you want to sit, like Faust, over a retort, hoping to create a new homunculus? There, there is your way! Your house and old servant are already waiting for you."
When the Master sees that Pilate is finally able to ascend the path of moonlight with Banga, he asks Woland where he and Margarita should go next, and this quotation is Woland's answer. It is peace that he describes, not "light," but peace, as Matthu Levi requested. It is significant that Woland suggests listening to the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828), the famous Austrian romantic composer. He set several of Goethe's poems to music, including one of Faust. Schubert suffered from depression, and melancholy and suicide are themes he used often in his music.
"But what is most terrifying is not the executioner, but the unnatural light in the dream, coming from a cloud that is boiling and tumbling on the earth, as always at moments of world catastrophe."
The behavior of the weather is explained in the Epilogue, when Ivan dreams of the execution of Yesha Ha-Nozri. This description is of the cloud that came over the city during the execution, but a cloud also came over the earth when Margarita and the Master departed with Woland and his cronies. Throughout the novel, storms rage at moments of climax for the individual characters, and Bulgakov provides this explanation in the Epilogue.
"Again and again, due justice must be rendered the investigating commission. It had done everything possible not only to catch the criminals but also to explain everything they had done. And, indeed, everything was explained, and the explanations must be recognized as both sensible and irrefutable."
This is the narrator's report of how the conclusions of investigating commission regarding the events of the novel. It is dripping with irony, since the narrator and the reader both know the conclusions of trickery and misunderstanding are untrue. This paragraph echoes the ironic tone with which the narrator describes the actions of investigators throughout the novel, as well as the actions of the secret police. It is a commentary on the Soviet Russia in which Bulgakov lived, where strange events were covered up and it was illegal to question the conclusions of investigating commissions.
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.