The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita Summary and Analysis of Book Two - Chapters 27-29


Chapter 27 - "End of Apartment Number 50"

Margarita has finished reading the manuscript; it is dawn, and she is exhausted, but feels perfectly calm, "as though everything was as, indeed, it should have been." At the same time, investigators are looking into the affair at the Variety Theater. Arkady Apollonovich Sempleyarov, chairman of the Acoustical Commission, gives his testimony.

Though the investigators visit apartment Number 50, there is no sign of inhabitants. Kitaitsev, the chief of the program section of the Entertainment Commission, swears that Styopa Likhodeyev had never submitted for approval of Woland's act, and has no explanation as to how it could have been performed at all. Prokhor Petrovich, who has been returned to his suit, also has no idea about Woland. Rimsky was discovered hiding in a hotel closet, but offers no reasonable explanation for the events. One of the investigators visits the hospital of Professor Stravinsky and talks to Ivan. However, Ivan has changed to become indifferent and disinterested.

Stepan Bognanovich Likhodeyev arrives in Moscow by plane at dawn on Saturday, and tells his side of the story before requesting to be placed in a safe cell. Varenukha is questioned, and then he too asks to be locked in a safe cell. Annushka is arrested and tells her story about seeing people flying out of the windows of apartment Number 50. Nikolay Ivanovich is called as another witness, and presents information that leads the police to notice the disappearance of Margarita and Natasha.

At four in the afternoon, a group of policemen arrive at apartment Number 50. Koroviev and Azazello are just finishing breakfast, and comment disinterestedly on the approaching policemen. But when the apartment is broken into, only Behemoth the cat is there, holding a primus stove in his paws, on the mantelpiece. But all their attempts to catch him fail, and a gun fight ensues, in which, miraculously, nobody is injured. Finally, Behemoth escapes out the window, after setting the apartment ablaze. The whole building begins to burn, and as its inhabitants evacuate, some people notice mysterious silhouettes flying out the window of apartment Number 50.

Chapter 28 - "The Last Adventures of Koroviev and Behemoth"

Behemoth and Koroviev appear on the sidewalk outside Griboyedov's. They approach the porch, but are stopped by a pale, bored woman named Sofya Pavlovna, who demands their identification cards. After a confusing conversation, Archibald Archibaldovich appears and tells her to let them in; they make up fake names, and are escorted indoors by Archibald Archibaldovich. He seats them and treats them with special care, since he had heard of them and does not want to upset them. Three men appear with revolvers and open fire at Behemoth and Koroviev's heads, shooting to kill. Instead, the two disappear and Griboyedov's catches on fire, burning to the ground.

Chapter 29 - "The Fate of the Master and Margarita Is Decided"

It is now sunset, and Woland and Azazello are sitting on the stone terrace of a high building. Matthu Levi appears, and says that he has come because "He sent me," without identifying who "He" is. It is clear that he means Yeshua Ha-Nozri, however, since he explains that "I am his disciple." Matthu tells Woland that "He" has read the Master's novel, and asks that Woland take the Master with him and "reward him with peace." When Woland asks him why the Master should not go into the light, Matthu says that he has not earned light, only peace.

Woland agrees to take the Master and Margarita to peace, and instructs Azazello to "Fly over to them and arrange everything." After Azazello leaves, Koroviev and Behemoth appear to Woland. He tells them "there are no more orders now," and that they can rest. They disappear as a storm gathers over Woland.


Bulgakov refers to the investigators as being from "one of the Moscow government departments," without naming the building. It is meant to be the NKVD headquarters on Lubyanka square, then called Dzerzhinsky Square, after the first director of the Cheka, Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky (1877-1926). Cheka is derived from the All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution and Speculation, and was the first of many successive organizations for State security. Bulgakov never refers to the NKVD by name. Likewise, the agents of the secret police are not referred to by name.

The image of a needle is used in Chapter 27 to describe the investigation's progress: "Twelve persons were conducting the investigation, gathering - as on a knitting needle - all the infernal stitches of this complicated affair." This metaphor has been used to describe Woland's physical effect on those whose lives he interferes with; it is as if a needle has been pricked into their brains. His eyes are also described as needle-like, in that one is sharp like a needle point and the other is empty like the eye of a needle.

In these chapters, the narrator removes himself from the action by claiming ignorance of the details of the events. Chapter 28 begins with the sentences, "Of course, we cannot say with certainty whether the silhouettes were really there or were merely imagined by the panic-stricken residents of the ill-starred house on Sadovaya. If they were really there, their immediate destination also remains unknown." To remove himself like that is almost to suggest that the narrator himself might be indicted by the knowledge of where the mysterious visitors went.

In Chapter 29, Woland is referred to as Satan for the first time, as the shadow of his sword creeps up to his black slippers. The shadow overtaking his feet hearkens back to Chapter 2, when Yeshua Ha-Nozri is having a hearing before Pilate. The sun is slowly overtaking the shadow, and his feet are exposed to it. This image creates a dichotomy between Satan and Yeshua Ha-Nozri as evil vs. good.

Nature continues to reflect the action of the story; as Woland prepares to leave, a storm gathers on the horizon. "A black cloud rose in the west and cut off half the sun. Then it covered the entire sun. The air grew chilly on the terrace. A little later it turned dark." The weather is behaving much as it did during the execution of Yeshua Ha-Nozri, when the searing heat was replaced by a torrential downpour.