Lately, I‘ve been writing so much about films that books were left aside (unfortunately). Well, it‘s time to correct this mistake and discuss books. So, for that reason I‘ve decided to discuss Mikhail Lermontov‘s play „The Masquerade“. It‘s a famous play; it is played in many theatres in different countries. It might not be THE most interesting, beautiful or whatever story to read, but it it is one of those stories that I think is a MUST to be read for a well educated person.
I‘m not going to re-tell the entire story of this play, because I don‘t think there‘s a huge need for this. I‘ll just try to point certain things relating it to story that I think are interesting (well, at least for me). One of them is the importance of social status.
Social status plays significant role in people‘s life no matter how we disagree with it, or how we don‘t care about ir. Nevertheless, it does and it did the same way back in the day, somewhere around XIX century. For the main character of „Masquerade“ status is really important too. Not only because it gives you permision to live in a certain way, but because if gives you freedom to behave in a certain way (and with this I don‘t agree). He lives and behaves the way his status allows him. But is it really so? The fact that someone is rich does not allow him go against rules or laws. The fact that his moral rules differs does not mean they are superior than common moral rules. Yet, law is the same to everybody no matter how you don‘t want to agree with it.
Arbenin (the main character) is also known for killing his wife out of jealousy. Yeah, I realise that the play was written in XIX century and things were different back then, however, whether or not your wife was cheating on you, you have no right (any kind of right) to kill her. Period.
These are the things, emotions, thoughts that occured in my head as I was reading this story. I don‘t know if these were the things that Lermontov wanted to point out. But I pointed them out for myself, that‘s how I interpreted this story. Now, let‘s move on, and discuss some other things.
What I like about this play was its structure. It is really good that it is written mostly in monologues not in dialogues. On the one hand, it is easier to read and follow the story. On the other hand, the characters develop so much better. It‘s like you can actually enter their inner world, something that is on the other side of their appearance. You see them thinking, suffering, you see them making mistakes, but all this is happening while they speak. It‘s like you‘re not standing behind them as they act, but you‘re in their body and are both the observer and the one who acts at the same time. Fascinating.
But why the story with such a nicely sounding title ends up so tragically? I think because of the unwillingness to talk, to check the facts – these simple things sometimes makes lots of troubles. Well, that‘s what happened to Arbenin: his wives‘s bracelet was at her friend and this friend gave it to the man with whom she flirted at the masquearade. And that‘s the reason why Arbenin started to feel jealous. Stupid, stupid, stupid. But in this case, not only these stupid circumstances pushed Arbening to kill his wife, but also other people. Those who knew the truth but remained silent. Those who could say the truth and save poor women‘s live but didn‘t. Those who made things even worse. Sadly but there are oh so many this kind of people out there. And the most scariest thing about it is that these kinds of people are closest to you: friends, relatives, family…
One more thing I‘d like to ask: is there a certain border when love becomes frightening? I think there is. And Arbenin showed exactly that border. When you don‘t trust someone, when you‘re super jealous it can become worst feeling ever. Probably exactly then people decide to get rid off of their second halfs. It‘s at the same time amazing and terrible how such a beautiful feeling like love can be so destructive.
One more interesting detail: I somewhere read that Lermontov‘s „Masquerade“ was based on whether a true story or true details. I don‘t know if it‘s true. But if someone does it would be great if you could share with this information, or some links where we could all read about it.