Sample Essay Outlines

Topic #1
The Master and Margarita is set in two cities: Moscow, where Woland, the master, and Margarita are at the center of the plot, and Yershalaim, where the drama of Yeshua and Pilate drives the plot forward. Analyze the juxtaposition of these two plot settings and examine the meaning of this juxtaposition

I. Thesis Statement: The Master and Margarita establishes the plot setting in biblical Yershalaim as real and the plot setting in communist Moscow as false. In doing this, it argues that the existence of God and the devil, called absurd by Communist leaders and party members, is real. In contrast, by depicting an array of fantastic, surreal events happening in Moscow, the novel argues that communist Moscow is absurd and fundamentally unreal.

II. Realism and credibility of Yershalaim narrative.

A. Before beginning to tell Pilate story, Woland declares “Jesus did exist.” B. Plain descriptions of Herod’s palace, Pilate, Yeshua, and Kaifa. C. Yeshua’s simple, non-rhetorical language.

D. Crude physicality of the execution scene.

E. Pilate’s weary, subdued nature, and hunger for sensual pleasure.

F. Judas’s desire for money and Niza leading him to death.

G. Aphranius’s grim, violent character.

III. Absurdity and deceptiveness in Moscow narrative.

A. Surrealism of initial chapter and Berlioz’s death. B. Incredible speed of Ivan’s chase and Ivan’s inability to catch Woland. C. Styopa’s removal from apartment 50 to the jetty at Yalta. D. The refusal to believe Ivan’s testimony about Berlioz’s death.

E. Koroviev’s bribe and the arrest of Bosoy.

F. Woland’s bizarre magic show.

G. Bosoy’s dream of the public exposure of currency hoarders.

H. The guests at Satan’s ball, and apartment 50’s conversion to ballroom.

I. Woland and retinue...

(The entire section is 712 words.)