A Hero of Our Time

A Hero of Our Time Irony

Pechorin is outwitted by a blind boy and a young woman

Pechorin, a master manipulator, is conned by two unlikely individuals. He is "robbed by a blind boy and very nearly drowned by a girl of eighteen" (69). In order to hide his incompetence, he does not inform the authorities of the events that occurred. Pechorin faces many adversaries in the novel: strong Kazbich and unrelenting Grushnitsky. He prides himself on being able to read people. It is unexpected and comical that he cannot access the thoughts of a blind boy and a young woman, thereby falling prey to their schemes.

The mazurka

Grushnitsky looks forward to dancing the mazurka with Princess Mary. He excitedly tells Pechorin this expectation. Pechorin listens to him and takes pleasure in Grushnitsky's ignorance. Pechorin mockingly tells Grushnitsky, "Mind someone doesn't get in first" (110). Unknown to Grushnitsky, Pechorin has already asked Princess Mary to dance the mazurka with him, and she has agreed to the proposal.

Grushnitsky's new attire displeases Princess Mary

Grushnitsky uses his commission to purchase a new uniform. He replaces his private's greatcoat with an infantry officer's uniform. He attends a ball with this new uniform and expects Princess Mary to be taken away with his appearance; however, Princess Mary is displeased. The private's greatcoat had made him special in her eyes. It had made her believe that he was someone "reduced to the ranks because of a due"l (80). By wearing an infantry officer's uniform, Grushnitsky dispels that notion and reveals that he is just a common soldier. This is the last strike for Grushnitsky in Princess Mary's eyes. She is officially done with him.

Pechorin is sad and angry after overhearing Grushnitsky and the dragoon captain's plan

Pechorin, the most manipulative and deceitful character in the novel, is offended when he finds himself being ridiculed and plotted against. Pechorin sees himself as a victim after overhearing Grushnitsky and the dragoon captain's plan to challenge him to a duel and to give him a gun without bullets. He ponders, "Why do they all hate me?" and "I haven't offended anyone, have I?" (122). Pechorin dislikes being treated the way he treats other characters. He takes great pleasure in Grushnitsky and Princess Mary's sufferings, but when the table is turned, he is enraged, and he even feigns ignorance of all his past doings.