Ruslan And Ludmila Specify And Discuss English Literature Essay

Ruslan and Ludmila - a poem-tale. The author combines the traditions of a humorous poem of the Classicism period and the search for ways to create lyrical/epical product that meets the requirements of romanticism. The author joins in Ruslan and Ludmila dissimilar styles: darkly solemn episode (Ruslan on the battlefield) is adjacent to the comic episodes (Finn and old Naina) and erotic episode (Chernomor in Ludmila’s bedroom). Violation of the rules of style prompted criticism of Pushkin's contemporaries, but at the same time allowed him to create an original style of writing. There are many different opinions about the genre affiliation in Ruslan and Ludmila. Some think that in its genre, Ruslan and Ludmila is a comic and ironic poem-​​tale. Others agree that in its genre, it is close both to the folk tale and to the historical poem; however, historical interest does not seem to prevail over the marvelous. Due to this, it seems more logical to say that Ruslan and Ludmila is an original work, in which the features of the folk tale intersect with real historical events.


The plot of the poem is fantastical, it breathes with youth and strength. Sad events do not seem that sad and frightening events do not appear scary to the reader, because grief is easily transformed into joy and frightening proceedings turn into humorous over the course of the narrative. The kidnapping of the bride, the search for her, the motive of competition, stay of the heroine in the enchanted realm, the feat to save her, a happy ending - it all looks like a fantastical folk tale at first sight. But in the course of the narrative, in the plot there is a constant clash of the fantastical and the everyday. Witch is not only evil, but also a pathetic old woman, fierce sorcerer Chernomor turns out to be a feeble old man. The triumph of truth over deceit, malice and violence is the prevailing theme of the poem. Ruslan and Ludmila contains the usual aspects of a fairy tale: a sharp dichotomy between good and evil characters and a happy ending. Combat episodes alternate with peaceful and happy; funny with dark and scary. The combination of such contrasting episodes allows the author to play with the audience and interest them in the plot. Here's a gentle, tremulous wedding night scene where verse flows smoothly:

The sound of kisses, love's sweet token.

And its soft, whispered words not hear?

Does not-come, say-the murmur broken

Of shy reluctance reach your ear?

(Canto the first)

The romantic wedding night scene is followed by a sudden, sharp transition into a terrible and mysterious tone. The suddenness of the event is highlighted by the gain in the pace of the verse and abruptness of the phrases:

Anticipation fires the spirit,

O'erjoyed the groom... But lo!-the air

Is rent by thunder, ever nearer

It comes. A flash' The lamp goes out,

The room sw^ays, darkness all about,

Smoke pours.... Fear grips Ruslan, defeating

His native pluck: his heart stops beating...

All's silence, grim and threatening.

An eerie voice sounds twice. There rises

Up through the haze a menacing

Black figure.... Coiling smoke disguises

Its shape.... It vanishes.... Now our

Poor groom, on his brow drops of sweat,

Starts up. by sudden dread beset,

(Canto the first)

Nevertheless, Ruslan and Ludmila has the features of a historical poem, including the names that go back to the History of the Russian State by Karamzin (Rogdai, Farlaf), and a description of real historical events. In the sixth canto, the poem comes the closest to the historical narrative: the siege of Kiev by the Pechenegs is presented as an artistic alteration of an actual historical event. Moreover, the tone of the poem in the sixth canto differs considerably. Fictional story is succeeded by historical. An actual picture of the city before the attack of the enemy is described through the poem:

A new alarm! And, shaken, all

Come scrambling up the city wall.

A mist the river cloaks. Beyond it

They see white tents, the glint of shields,

Dust raised by horsemen in the field

And moving carts: they are surrounded;

Up on the hilltops campfires flame...

To such scenes Kiev is no stranger;

It's clear the city is in danger,

The Pechenegs attack again!

(Canto the sixth)

This is a true and accurate description of the war of the X century, with its weapons, tactics, and even the means of communication. This is the part of the poem where historical realism is seen clearly, also being in line with the fantastical events that the poem unquestionably possesses. A folk tale and historical narrative are closely adjacent to irony in this peace of work. The author does not hesitate to make fun of his character, Ludmila, even in the most tragic moments for her. She's crying - but doesn’t stop looking in the mirror; decided to drown herself – but does not do so (‘She is about to jump-but no, We see her pause ... and onward go’), says that she would not eat - and then, eats ("Tis death I choose, death!’ And repeating The word again, the maid starts... eating’). Ironical jokes made by Pushkin do not violate the lyrical image of the heroine - on the contrary, they create a charming character for her that the readers can sympathies with.

The fight scene of Lundmila and Chernomor is depicted as follows:

He nears her, and Ludmila, led

By shock and fright, flies off her bed

And at him, and his cap she clutches,

And lifts a shaking fist, no doubt

To try to shield herself. And such is

The shriek the poor maid now lets out

The Moors are deafened by't, while pale

(Canto the second)

This episode shows that the poem is not only ironic at its base, but it also contains a noticeably a strong element of parody. One thing, however, is related to the other. Ludmila, for example, is both a fantastical character, and at the same time a modern woman. She is a heroine, and a charming, witty parody of the heroine. This is also the case with other characters of Pushkin’s work to a greater or lesser extent. Pushkin, in Ruslan and Ludmila laughs at his characters, at the reader and at himself. Irony is extended even to the idea of the poem, as he ironically and humorously portrays the plot and adds his own personality to it through the use of the personal pronoun ‘I’ and through the story teller’s own experience:

Each morning as I wake from slumber

To God I tender heartfelt praise

That of magicians nowadays

There is a marked decrease in number,

And that they render now far less

Precarious our marriages.

In fact, their spells need not be dreaded

By those of us but newly wedded..

(Canto the fourth)

Also, in Ruslan and Ludmila there are features of the romantic poem: an unusual hero - a knight who has no past; unusual place- the action takes place sometimes in a historical event and sometimes in a fairy tale. From that it could be said that Pushkin's romanticism is a special sort of romanticism. It is not abstract romanticism, but a romanticism of youth, health and strength, romanticism, which has realistic credentials. The reader is constantly reminded of the reality, which is seen through autobiographies and author’s own evaluations of characters and events. The author often changes the topic or tone - from lyrical to ironic, which creates a contrast and gives the story personal tone. Also, the narrator often emphasises his own role as storyteller. He plays with the reader's curiosity and teases him, interrupting the narrative on intense parts of the story, as, for example, in the second canto, when Rogdai reaches Ruslan:

He recognized the voice and hated

The sound of it. "How dares he! I'll-"

But where's Ludmila? For a while

Let's leave the two men;

(Canto the second)

He then, however, towards the end of the canto returns to the story of the duel between Ruslan and Rogdai:

But what of our young hero? Pray

Remember the unlooked-for fracas.

(Canto the second)

It is also important to spot the verse form in which the poem is written. Pushkin secured the iambic tetrameter after the lyrical poem. By choosing this verse form the author gives the poem free lyrical flow which is not constrained by regular alteration of rhymes

He uses in Ruslan and Ludmila triple and quadruple rhyme which together with the iambic tetrameter enables the free movement of intonation - from jokes and irony to a soft, melodious lyricism and heroic pathos, from the literary controversy to images of magic and antiquity.

Moreover, it should be noted that Ruslan and Ludmila was written over the period of three years, and of course, every verse was a step forward as it has a character of its own. Poet grew with his work. He began the poem in the spirit of happy dreams and heart inspirations, but towards the end it gains more seriousness. During the time of the creation of the poem, Pushkin’s range of historical interests expanded considerably. Therefore, changes the style and manner of storytelling. Verse form becomes stronger, more strict and courageous. People and events are depicted with a greater level of specificity. The first two cantos contain a lot of conventional and traditional features, such as when Ludmila ‘Claps hands to ears in desperation,’ (Canto the second). This is a traditional gesture of despair which portrays no individual characteristics for the heroine. The sixth verse of Ruslan and Ludmila, on the other hand, contains no such conventionalities. Realistic tendencies are felt more strongly. Gestures and behavior of the characters becomes more distinctive of the person and the situation. The excitement of the old prince at the sight of sleeping Ludmila is expressed differently than the excitement of Ruslan:

‘…The Prince, grief- worn,

His grey head 'gainst his child's feet leans

With silent tears…’

In the creative evolution of Pushkin, the value of the last canto of Ruslan and Ludmila is huge. For the first time in his works, the people act as an agent of the history. Society is shown in their anxieties, hopes, struggle and victory. A theme of the national struggle and fame comes into the poem and into the art of Pushkin. At the last stage of Ruslan’s fabulous travels the hero becomes the deliverer of the freedom to the Motherland. Folk tale takes on a historical perspective. Ancient legends resonate with the present through a vivid picture of the expulsion of the Pechenegs, the theme of deliverance from foreign invasion of Russia in 1812 is seen.

Maintaining the tradition of fairy-tale romance, Pushkin, by the end of the poem combines fantasy elements with dramatic tales in a new way, freely mixing genres which allowed him to create a work that genuinely interested many generations of readers and will surely continue to interest them in the future. In conclusion, we can say that the poem Ruslan and Ludmila is not so much about the past, but about the present and the future. Imbued with a sense of joyful possibilities of earthly happiness, covered by an irresistible desire for freedom, it exposes deceit and evil in the name of humanity. The poem is a kind of synthesis of early creative aspirations of the poet. In addition to that it can be said that Ruslan and Ludmila is a watershed in the development of Russian literature, the triumph of romanticism.