Bulgakov’s novel is a weave of satire, and realism, history and social values. It features three story lines, which become more and more connected as the plot unfolds. The main story involves a visit by the devil – who goes by the name of Professor Woland - and four of his assistants to 1930’s Russia. They cause havoc in the city and use black magic to play tricks on all who cross their path.
The second storyline is that of the Master, who is in an insane asylum, and his one true love – Margarita, who makes a pact with the devil and turns into a witch in order to be reunited with him.
The third story is that of Pontuis Pilate and the crucifixion of Jesus, presented in the form of a novel written by the Master.The novel is a richly woven tapestry of fine imagery and Bulgakov makes use of this in his interplay between the major themes of the book, such as good and evil, love and sensuality, courage and cowardice, freedom and limitations, redemption and damnation.
The connection between the two main settings of the novel – Jerusalem and Moscow, provides for an intriguing read, with them often being contrasted or compared, while the events of the plot highlight the main premise of the novel.It works to expose the greed and corruption of Soviet Russia’s elite, who during the communist era, never sought to speak out. It is a social commentary as well as a haunting work of fiction.