Grusha, a young, attractive, unmarried, helpful kitchen maid in the family of the governor of a Caucasian city. The governor, returning from Easter Mass, is killed in a political uprising. His wife, concerned about fleeing with her elegant dresses, forgets her baby, and the kindhearted Grusha cares for him. Fleeing for safety to her brother’s distant home in the mountains, she protects the child. Grusha’s sister-in-law, concerned about an unmarried girl with a baby, has Grusha married to a supposedly dying man who revives immediately after the wedding. Grusha, however, is still loyal to her Easter morning betrothal to Simon, a soldier. When soldiers take the child back to the governor’s wife, Grusha pleads in court for the child. The governor’s wife needs the son for access to the family estates, but Grusha loves him and is best for him. She wins him and is given a divorce. Her love for Simon also is rewarded.
Azdak (ahz-DAHK) a village scrivener, suddenly elevated, during a time of political chaos, into the role of judge for two years. He is a drunken rascal given to stealing chickens and rabbits. During the political war, he befriended a beggar, sheltering him from the police, only to learn later that it was the grand duke. Azdak, upset at being a traitor to his own class, wants to be tried in court but instead is made judge. His rulings, using a feigned stupidity,...
(The entire section is 512 words.)