In the story "Vij" is evident at once that, as in other early works of Gogol, romanticism is inextricably mixed with realism: paintings alternate with fantastic images, - some mystical beast, caused by frightened imagination of people and the author himself, are standing next to the most ordinary people. Pictures of idyllic peaceful nature are mixed here with landscapes full of mystical horror and anxiety.
The romantic element of the story is most noticeable in the development of popular beliefs in the existence of some mysterious Viy, in the existence of witches and the possibility of their communicating with ordinary people. Beautiful sotnik’s daughter has the ability to turn into a dog and an old woman; she drinks blood of people, especially of children; she makes the guys she likes carry her on their shoulders, and tortures them. Servants of her father know many horror stories about. It is in communion with the representatives of "evil forces" - the dark forces of the earth, which are personified in the form of devils and demons, and the Viy, whom Gogol himself calls "the chief of the dwarves"
The addiction to the use of magical romantic motifs of folk art was inherent for Gogol oo. It was enough to hint to his imagination and he easily began to create in this area. Gogol was attracted to the world of fantasy and afterlife, probably because, nervous and impressionable from childhood, he was no stranger to mysticism.
That's why everything that was going on at night in the church around witch’s coffin, is described by Gogol in such bright, vivid colors that produces an image of nightmare or feverish hallucinations. In Russian literature there was no horrible scene like this in "Viy", in which, fantasy romantic writer so beautifully is combined with force-realist artist.
Realistic element reveals in the description of life the old pre-reform Kiev seminary, in the depiction of typical seminarians and sotnik’s yard.
The seminary was the kind of school in which only the "favorites" - people with outstanding abilities and academic interests acquired education. Most of them did not learn anything, but endured out characters appropriate to the needs of those hard times. Students there were severely flogged, holding hand to mouth, and the pupils, in their turn, were beating each other, so taking care only of their subsistence. Entertainments there were rude and harsh. No wonder that, after such training, many went straight to the Zaporozhian Sich.
The hero of the story "Vij" is the "philosopher" Khoma Brutus. This young man represents the image, which collected a lot of the typical Russian folk traits. Khoma is to superabundance endowed with spiritual indifference, which is sometimes tinged with humor, sometimes with laziness. Such fatalism leads him peace of mind, from which he is difficult to bring out. After his adventure with a witch, Khoma Brutus had a dinner at the inn and immediately calmed down, he looked at the comings and goings with happy eyes, and did not think about his unusual incident anymore.
After the first terrible night in the church Brutus, after a hearty dinner, immediately begins to feel calmed and contented. The philosopher was one of those people who, when fed, an extraordinary philanthropy awakens in them. In preparation for the third and final night, Khoma is trying to take from life last joy and embarks in such a dance that everyone was looking at him in amazement.
The typical image of the Cossack-philosopher, and phlegmatic fatalist, has been displayed by Gogol before and after writing of “Viy”.