The Master, an unnamed Muscovite who, after winning a lottery, retires to a basement apartment to write a novel about Pontius Pilate. Devastated when it is rejected by scornful editors, he attempts to burn the manuscript. The Master finds refuge in a mental hospital, where he meets Ivan and continues to imagine ancient Yershalayim. He is retrieved from the hospital by Woland, at the request of Margarita.
Margarita, the wife of a wealthy factory owner who falls in love with the Master and visits him clandestinely in his basement rooms. She fervently believes in his novel and attempts, unsuccessfully, to get editors to publish it. After the Master’s disappearance, she is summoned by Azazello and flies off, naked, on a broom to apartment number 50 at 302-b Sadovaya Street in Moscow, where she serves as hostess of Satan’s spring ball of the full moon.
Woland, also known as Satan, Messire, and the Devil, who shows up, in the guise of a German professor, in Moscow’s Patriarchs’ Pond Park. The magic show that he and his cohorts perform at the Variety Theater, in which the emcee is beheaded and money and clothing materialize, ends in pandemonium. Woland takes over Berlioz’s apartment as his headquarters. There, he stages a satanic ball attended by a wide range of guests, living and deceased.
Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyrev
Ivan Nikolayevich Ponyrev (nih-koh-LA-yeh-vihch POH-nih-rehv), a young writer who uses the pen name Ivan Homeless. He is commissioned to write an antireligious poem about Jesus. His hysterical account of the supernatural mischief of Woland and his cohorts to fellow writers at the Griboyedov House causes him to be hospitalized and diagnosed as schizophrenic. After meeting the Master in an adjoining room, he listens to his story and becomes his literary disciple.
Yeshua Ha-Nozri, an accused rabble-rouser from Galilee. He is a solitary and timorous figure unsure of his calling. Resentful of Matthu Levi, he asks him to burn his manuscript. He is put to an agonizing death on Bald Mountain on the outskirts of Yershalayim.
(The entire section is 945 words.)