Chapter 3

The Seventh Proof

[Sed'moe dokazatel'stvo]

it's already evening--whether through the effect of the story or by means of magic, time is already being manipulated.

maybe I just fell asleep and dreamed it all--Bulgakov here introduces the correlation between dreams and stories as alternative realities.

story-gospel accounts-historical source--Berlioz and the stranger's argument here comes to the crux of the matter: what is the relation between a [fictional] story, a divinely inspired gospel, and a historical document?

I myself witnessed the whole thing--But recall that Pilate says explicitly in Chapter 2 that no one can overhear his dispute with Kaifa. Perhaps Bulgakov was influenced here by David Strauss's comments that the fourth Evangelist describes the events as if he were present with Pilate, rather than outside, as any witness must have been. (D. F. Strauss, Zhizn' Iisusa (per. V. Ul'rikha, Leipzig & SPb, 1907), 178-80).

the Metropole

the devil doesn't exist either?--Continuing the dualistic theme introduced in the epigraph. If there is no God, there is no devil, and vice versa.

Whatever comes up you say doesn't exist--or "whatever you try to get, there isn't anything." Soviets took this line as a comment on the deficits, on the lack of consumer goods in the stores. (See kvas)

your uncle in Kiev

measures should be taken, won't take them long to figure out -- Whenever the secret police is referred to in the novel, Bulgakov uses passives and indefinite personal constructions to avoid naming the NKVD. (See my article)

former choirmaster, cracked tenor--Bulgakov continues his musical themes with the man in the checked trousers.

newly-laid stretch of track running from Yermolaevsky Lane to Bronnaya Street--Though trams ran nearby on the Garden and Boulevard Rings, most historians agree that there never was an actual tram line here, and it doesn't show on any maps. But the influence of Bulgakov's novel has resulted in many Muscovites recalling such a line, and Miagkov has found traces of it by "biolocation." He thinks there may have been a depot track here where trams out of service would rest for the night. (Miagkov, Bulgakovskaia Moskva, 97-99)

A Tram

crimson armband--showing that she was a Komsomol member.

"Berlioz did not scream. . ."

Berlioz's severed head--The image of decapitation has already appeared in Pilate's hallucination.