November 7, 2007

The Terrible Vengeance

This is a short story by Nicolai Gogol (1809-1852). This is from the first volume of his 'Evenings on a farm near Dikana' that was first published in September 1981.

Gogol continues with his fondness for the supernatural by describing the story of an evil Wizard. The wizard is portrayed having an evil soul and ugly looks. He embodies the dark human evils, namely, murder and incest. The wizard has power to enter dreams and even transform himself in appearance.

The wizard conspires against his daughter Katherine and son-in-low Danilo. Katherine is a loyal wife of pure character. Her faithfulness to her husband is revered by Gogol in his description. Gogol tenderly describes her innocence and beauty. Danilo is depicted as a fearless soldier and an inspiring commander. Even in the face of imminent death, he valiantly fights the enemy. He cheers his soldiers during battle and encourages them to attain glory. His eagerness and enthusiasm is shown by his concern that there won't be any enemy left if they do not hurry. Katherine and Danilo embody all that is good in contrast to the evil wizard.

The ultimate triumph of good over evil does not end the story. Gogol goes further back in time and describes another legend. This legend involves the heinous treachery by a friend. Continuing with the supernatural element, he depicts God involved with man in deciding the punishment. The punishment designed by man makes you shudder and lacks God's mercy. This legend is tied to the story of the wizard with finesse.

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