Critical Analysis of The Bronze Horseman by Alexander Pushkin

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Sewanee University of the South
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Critical thinking
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Alexander Pushkin from Russia was one poet who could be ranked with the like of William Shakespeare, Dante Alighieri, and other prominent writers. He exhibited great talent in his work, and you could tell he had a passion for the same. His profound love for poetry not only made him better but also it made him the first poet with such significance and brilliance in lyric poetry. Other genres he affiliated himself with include, drama, fiction, and long narrative poems. To say that Pushkin was the first talented poet in his country would be a lie. However, Pushkin was the first poet to thrive not only locally but also internationally. Some of his great pieces were translated into many languages to increase the market base, but the translation was not always well. Therefore, unlike other Russian and international writers, he was mostly known and popular in his homeland as compared to other countries. One characteristic feature of Pushkin was the simplicity of his style and compactness. He was very unpredictable and inevitable in his style that made it so hard for the translators to capture everything. Consequentially, Pushkins literary works were best fit for Russia although he has fans from all over the world. Perhaps, The Bronze Horseman was the epitome of Pushkins career. Below is a critical analysis of the same.

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The narrative poem is divided into three parts namely: introduction, part I and part II; this was a brilliant idea to enhance reading and help the reader concentrate on one part at a time. Long narrative poems have the tendency to bore the reader. A reader could be well prepared and very determined to maintain concentration on the poem but is likely to get bored halfway. However, breaking the poem into three parts helps a reader keep a short concentration span. Readers can also get differing plots and themes from the three sections. In the introduction, we are introduced to the landscape of the narrators view. The narrator, in this case, is Peter the Great and starts by standing on River Nevas edge to plan for the new city (Briggs & Kahn, 2000). From this line, you can tell that Peter the Great is visionary. Many people are interested in the here and now. They are so focused on their personal needs whether long-term and short-term and forget the bigger picture. For instance, were it for an ordinary villager, at the same exact point of view, they would be looking at the water source and coming up with semi-permanent structures near the river and call them home. Instead, Pushkin sees the potential that the land hold and how he could transform it into the most valuable port. Pushkin also uses the introduction to familiarize the reader with the rich environment that Swede possesses. Many times, these are seemingly small but important details that are usually left out even though they are very significant. River Neva is imperative in a Swede and the narrative poem revolves around it. Pushkin knew this and used the introduction to describe the landscape so that it could be relevant when mentioned in Part I and Part II. River Neva was a double-edged sword that could cut both ways (Banerjee, 1978). It was both beneficial and detrimental to the residents of Swede; a classic example of the good and the bad in the society.

Depending on the time and season, River Neva could be a blessing or a threat; this could be symbolic and reflective of the nature of human beings. People act differently at different times. There are times that they are calm and composed, yet sometimes they are crazy and life-threatening. A peaceful life is one where a person can be able to control these two extremes. One where they know how to keep their cool when all around them are losing theirs. Just like the river that changes with seasons, so do human beings. However, people need to be bigger than their problems. They should not let moments define them and instead should seek to make the best out of each moment. For instance, in the case of flooding, River Neva could be controlled through the building of dams. That way, they could avert the possible loss of lives and destruction of properties. Similarly, when people are angry, they tend to be more vicious and violent both physically and verbally. Those who let such anger get the best of them do things they end up regretting sooner or later. Such anger should be contained and expressed in other forms.

Part I begins with describing River Neva and its raging waters. Shortly after, we are introduced to Yevgeny, who is the storys hero (I. & Lednicki, 1957). Yevgeny did not come from a very comfortable family, and his led a life punctuated with abject poverty. The theme of poverty is used in this part to show the challenges that poor people face on a day-to-day basis. Despite being a very ambitious person, his dreams and potential remain unlocked due to poverty. Poverty not only affects people physically but also psychologically and also socially. For instance, Yevgeny spent a lot of time plotting and scheming his next move and the dream of better days. Poverty also shatters peoples dreams. In as much as they say money is not everything, it does play a significant role in making life better. It shapes fates, accomplish goals, and improves the living standards of people. If Yevgeny had plenty of it, he would not be having sleepless nights and thoughtful days.

Parasha and Yevgeny enhance the theme of love and sacrifice. The two fall in love but the biggest problem is that they live on different sides of the river. So apart from having poverty to think about, Yevgeny has Parasha to think about and what the flooding river could to the river. The theme of hopelessness is evident here. Pushkin demonstrates that at the wrath of nature, everyone is hopeless. In the first part, River Neva floods and destroys all structures, and as a result, many people were left without food or housing for several days. In Part II, receding of River Neva could be symbolic of ending of Yevgenys problems. The first thing that Yevgeny was determined to do was finding his betrothed Parasha. However, his efforts are futile, and after wandering for months, he decides to go back home. He is not so welcomed, and this could be because of two things. First, his physical appearance was terrible and secondly, he had neglected his people. As soon as the floods ended, he did not care to remain and watch his people but instead, went to chase love. He also channels his frustrations to a bronze horseman statute by confronting it. The statue coming to life could be symbolic of the consequences for making wrong and unfair choices in life.


Banerjee, M. (1978). Pushkin's "The Bronze Horseman": An Agonistic Vision. Modern Language Studies, 8(2), 47.

Briggs, A. & Kahn, A. (2000). Pushkin's 'The Bronze Horseman'. The Modern Language Review, 95(2), 589., G. & Lednicki, W. (1957). Pushkin's Bronze Horseman. Russian Review, 16(2), 79.

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