-What are you, then? -I am part of that power that always wishes evil and always performs the good. -Goethe, Faust
This double outline illustrated from the beginning reveals a constant interplay of beliefs which evolves within the story. Which brings to the forefront, what is truth? What is faith? Faith is suggested as a mental illness. The supernatural is also intermixed with these questions, as Woland continues to suspend the readers' and the characters' belief by means of his and his retinue's magic and trickery. Many of the characters introduced are arrested, sent to a mental hospital, transported mysteriously somewhere far, or just disappear.
"if there is no God, then may I ask who governs man's existence and all world order?"[...]"In order to govern, one needs to have a definite plan for some reasonable length of time. Allow me to ask you how man can govern anything considering that not only is he unable to plan for even a laughably short period, say a thousand years, but that he cannot even vouch for tomorrow?" -Woland
Following the first chapter, Ivan Homeless is entered into a mental hospital, where he meets the Master. He is the creator and writer of the story of Pontius Pilate, it is his book banned and his writing career truncated due to the subject matter of his book, the retelling of Jesus' judgement from the view of Pilate, the judge. What struck me, among many other things in this excellent novel, is how faith, pre-notions and traditions are questioned. Jesus is not portrayed as divine either, merely as a humble rabble rouser, and vice versa, the devil is not entirely evil according to orthodox conviction.
Part one, rather than highlight one specific protagonist, sets the plot which leads to the second part and the introduction of Margarita. The action is quick and precise, and the writer is in continual sporadic conversation with the reader throughout, which in turn engages the attention.
"What other oddities transpired in Moscow that night we know not, and we certainly will not pry, especially since it is time for us to move on to the second part of this truthful narrative. Follow me, reader!"