Wobec zła…, czyli o tym, co łączy, a co dzieli Mistrza I Małgorzatę od Matki Joanny od Aniołów
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Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and Iwaszkiewicz’s Mother Joan of the Angels are concerned with the problem of evil. They examine its origins, presence in the world and impact on human beings. Bulgakov’s novel is organized around the visit of Woland – a performer of black magic – and his company. The series of paranormal incidents reveal that Woland is Satan in disguise who has come to Moscow to expose the ugly side of human nature. It turns out that the citizens of the Soviet Union are greedy, hypocritical and vicious. However, the novel’s main idea is that people are evil because the political system in which they live makes them behave like this. In a world without personal and spiritual freedom there cannot be a place for good, truth or beauty. Paradoxically, it is because of Woland’s fancy tricks that people reveal their true colours. What the devil really attacks is not human nature but rather the conditions that make it corrupt. The Master and Margarita may thus be read as a philosophical allegory of good and evil as well as a harsh socio-political satire on the oppressive Communist régime and its spiritual emptiness. Iwaszkiewicz’s Mother Joan of the Angels also touches upon the existence of evil in the world. However, the devil’s impact on human beings is exposed quite differently than in Bulgakov‟s masterpiece. Iwaszkiewicz’s story is woven around the demonic possession of the nuns of the Abbey of Ludyń, and especially its abbess – Mother Joan. She is possessed by nine demons who make her do incredible things. Those demonic “performances” make father Suryn – the exorcist – came to save her. But the more he tries to free her from the power of the devil, the more she wants to be possessed by the dark forces. Mother Joan enjoys the state of demonic possession as it finally makes her famous, respected and admired. She becomes someone special – someone she always wanted to be. Therefore, the evil spirits are evoked here because the abbess invites them into her life. She finds evil attractive as it brings her personal fulfillment. In Mother Joan of the Angels evil is not a matter of a bad system but it is an integral part of human nature. Iwaszkiewicz’s story presents then a rather pessimistic view of human condition, whereas in The Master and Margarita there is still a deep belief in the goodness of man.
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