It is possible to listen to a report-message on Mayakovsky’s work in ROSTA, and display posters.
In the work on posters in the Windows of Satire, Mayakovsky showed his satirical talent. If in the pre-revolutionary years the poet’s satire was directed at the “fat”, at the “bourgeois”, then in the twenties the enemies of the revolution became the target of satire. These enemies need not be looked for far away; they are corrupting the revolution from within.
VI. Reading and analysis of poems
1. In the poem “On rubbish” (1920-21), Mayakovsky strikes at the bourgeoisie (we read the poem).
What danger does Mayakovsky warn against?
The petty bourgeois is an enemy disguised as a Soviet worker, Mayakovsky believes. The poet scoffs at the “scum”, who managed to adapt, “changing plumage”, to new conditions, to build “cozy offices and bedrooms” for themselves. The tradesman is dangerous because he deftly rubs himself into the state apparatus, giving rise to the disease of bureaucratization of institutions. The atmosphere that philistinism carries in itself is also terrible: it is so comfortable for him “in the mire”.
What role do details play in a poem?
Mayakovsky expressively draws the details of everyday life: an indispensable scarlet frame for a portrait of Marx; newspaper “Izvestia”, which serves as a bedding for a kitten. This is the backdrop for the self-satisfied “scum”, the Soviet official, concerned only with his own well-being, and his wife, “Comrade Nadia”, for whom the hammer and sickle emblems of the revolution are only an indispensable pattern on the dress.
Such people only vulgarize ideas connected with the revolution. Even the word “Revolutionary Military Council” turns out to be associated for “comrade Nadia” with the ball at which she is going to “figure”.
– What other methods of satirical depiction are there in the poem?
The words of reduced vocabulary are underlined by their position at the ends of the lines: “mug / tradesman”; “ass”; “scum”; “Pacific galifis”. Expressive hyperbole: “having been numb from five years of sitting halls, / strong as wash basins.” The petty-bourgeois symbol – the canary – turns out to be worse than Wrangel. In general, an absurd picture emerges. It is only outrageous to us that the portrait of Marx does not stand up and “screams” the guard. The eccentric conclusion of the poem: “Hurry / shake the heads of the canaries – / so that communism / is not beaten by the canaries!”
2. We read and analyze the poem “Seated” (1922). We emphasize the satirical orientation, the development of the traditions of Saltykov-Shchedrin, the absurdity of the bureaucratic machine that imitates activity; the main techniques of satire are the realization of metaphor, the grotesque, and fantasy.
VII. Reading and analysis of poems prepared at home
VIII. Final word of the teacher
Through the revolution, Mayakovsky finds a homeland that seemed to have never existed for him before. Pride in his revolutionary era prevails in his works. Having perceived the revolution as the first act of transforming life, the poet is looking for people who are able to continue the work of building a new life. He saw the embodiment of the dream of an ideal person in Lenin. The poem “Vladimir Ilyich Lenin” (1924) is dedicated to him: “The heart votes – I am obliged to write under the mandate of duty.” Although Lenin emphasizes the features of the “most earthly” person, this image is idealized, given as a model, as an example. By the tenth anniversary of October, the poem “Good!” was written, in which the awakening of the consciousness of the masses of people is shown, and the revolution is given as a historically inevitable and organized phenomenon. At the end of the poem – the mood of victorious euphoria: “And life is good, and living well!”; “Praise, hammer and verse, / the land of youth.” Many lines of this poem became aphorisms, slogans of the Soviet era: “I glorify the Fatherland / which is, / but three times – / which will be”; “And I, / like the spring of mankind, / born / in labor and in battle, / sing / my fatherland, / my republic!”
Mayakovsky, as we have seen, was characterized not only by an optimistic, but also by a critical view of the present and future. This was expressed both in poems and in the dramatic works of the poet. We will talk about one of them in the next lesson.
Read Mayakovsky’s play “The Bedbug”.
The purpose of the lesson: to understand what is the object of satire in the play.
Methodical techniques: analytical conversation.
During the classes
I. Teacher’s word
Mayakovsky saw, of course, the negative aspects of the revolution, which is why he has so much satire. But the poet justified these “misses” and “shortcomings” with a great goal, believed in high ideals. Often the wishful thinking was taken for granted. The inner tragedy of Mayakovsky’s life is a topic for a separate discussion.
Mayakovsky’s satire reached artistic heights in his dramaturgy. Mayakovsky himself called “The Bedbug” an enchanting comedy, and the problem of the play is defined as “an exposure of today’s philistinism.” “The material processed and included in the comedy is a mass of philistine facts that went into my hands and head from all sides,” he wrote. The play “The Bedbug” can be attributed to the fantastic genre, because the action takes place in 1978, and the thing was written in 1928-29. Mayakovsky is interested in what will change in ten Soviet five-year plans.
The defrosted Prisypkin enters the society of the future and infects many with the bacillus of philistinism. Mayakovsky shows how strong and indestructible militant vulgarity can be. He always fought against it (remember, for example, the poem “About rubbish”) and was sure that in the future, communist society, humanity would outlive its vices.
Information for the teacher
The basis of conflicts in Mayakovsky’s plays are such vices as philistinism and bureaucracy. It was towards the end of the 1920s that the poet sees and keenly feels that his ideal of a free and just society is far from what surrounds him. As a result of Mayakovsky’s attitude to the vices of society, his plays – “The Bedbug” and “Banya” – were born.
The satirical play The Bedbug was written in 1928. Its plot is close to M. Bulgakov’s story “The Heart of a Dog”, which was not published, but is already known in the literary circles of Moscow. In the play “The Bedbug”, the professor unfreezes Prisypkin, who has lain for fifty years in the cellar. The scientist observes its revival and adaptation to the life of the new time. This reminds us of Professor Preobrazhensky’s observation of Sharik’s humanization stages. Mayakovsky refuses Prisypkin, this inveterate mishmash, to live in human society and, as a result, places him in a zoo. Prisypkin finds himself in the same cage with a bug that got into the future from his collar. This plot twist echoes the decision of Professor Preobrazhensky to return Sharikov to a “dog” state. The finale of “Klop” sounds like a satire: Prisypkin “yells” into the auditorium: “Citizens! Brothers! Their! Native! Where? How many of you?! When were you all thawed out? Why am I alone in a cage? .. “
The second satirical play by Mayakovsky “Bath” was published in 1929. It evilly showed the society of the new bureaucracy, for which this work of criticism was condemned. On March 21, 1930, in Rabochaya Gazeta, regarding Mayakovsky and his play The Bathhouse, they wrote: “… His mocking attitude towards our reality, in which he sees no one but illiterate talkers, narcissistic bureaucrats and clingy ones, is very significant. In his play there is not a single person on whom the eye could rest. The workers he draws are completely lifeless figures and speak the heavy and intricate language of Mayakovsky himself.
The poet tried to explain himself and did this in his note “What is a “Bath”? Whom does she wash?”, where he wrote: “The bathhouse is a journalistic thing, therefore there are not so-called living people in it, but lively tendencies …
The theater has forgotten that it is a spectacle.
We do not know how to use this spectacle for our agitation.
An attempt to return entertainment to the theater, an attempt to make the stage a tribune – this is the essence of my theatrical work.
Mayakovsky’s plays were staged at the Meyerhold Theater, and the poet himself was directly involved in their production, as he was the second director. Celebrities such as Vakhtangov and Deineka worked on staging the performances – they designed the stage; Shostakovich – he wrote the music for “Klop”.
Both plays are satirical comedies in which the main vices of the existing society are ridiculed. It is no coincidence that Mayakovsky in his dramatic works showed a kind of time test of such vices as philistinism and bureaucracy. The poet was sure that if they were not eliminated and overcome in the present, then with such a “burden” it would be impossible to build a bright future. Indeed, in the future there is no place for the protagonist of The Bedbug, the petty-bourgeois Prisypkin, and he himself cannot live there. Sweeps away the “flying time” and the characters of the play “Bath” – sycophants, bureaucrats and useless people. There is nothing to do in the future and such vices of society as rudeness, drunkenness, rudeness and vulgarity.
But who will the future accept? Mayakovsky puts the answer to this main question into the mouth of one of the heroines of The Bath, thereby showing what he himself expects from the future, what is his ideal. “The future will accept everyone who has at least one trait that is related to the collective of the commune – the joy of working, the thirst for sacrifice, the indefatigability of inventing, the benefit of giving, pride in humanity.”
In his plays, Mayakovsky typifies the characters, they are typical representatives of their time and environment. Among them we meet a Nepman, and a worker, and a bureaucrat, and a journalist, whose characters are determined by the sphere of their activity. One of the main techniques that Mayakovsky used to show the individual characteristics of his characters is to give them “speaking” surnames: Prisypkin, Pobedonosikov, Chudakov, Mezalyansova, Momentalnikov, Optimistenko, etc.
The plays of V. Mayakovsky are not just interesting dramatic works for theatrical productions. They carry a sharp satirical orientation, reveal those shortcomings of the environment that take place in any society and at any time. Mayakovsky’s merit lies in the fact that he was not afraid to say his “no” to these vices and show his contemporaries that all this dirt has no place in the future, in which the poet so believed.
In conclusion, I would like to quote a few lines from the memoirs of L. Yu. Brik about the poet: “In Mayakovsky there was a frenzied love for life, for all its manifestations – for the revolution, for art, for work, for me, for women” .
– How did the author depict the society of the future?
Let’s turn to some scenes from the “bright future”. Here, for example, is how the voting goes: “Instead of human voices, there are radio trumpets, next to them there are several hanging hands, similar to those protruding from cars.” Only two mechanics are busy in the dark auditorium. The vote on the issue of defrosting Prisypkin passes without discussion: the overwhelming majority is in favor.
The people of the future do not understand what poetry is. In response to Prisypkin’s request, he is given only Mussolini’s book, Hoover’s book “How I Was President”, calling them “most interesting”. They do not really know who Stradivarius is, they do not understand music. The musicians play only touches in the piece. The old dances are gone: “Ten thousand men and women will move across the square. It will be a fun rehearsal for the new field work system.” It seems that real feelings, the joys of life, are inaccessible to people of the future. They perceive love as “human sexual energy, reasonably distributed for life.” And the state of being in love is assessed as an “ancient disease”, an “inflammatory process”. In this sterile society, people don’t drink or smoke, they don’t shake hands. “In ancient times there was such an unsanitary custom,” says the professor. The trees there “sometimes tangerine, and then yesterday there were only pears – and not juicy, and not tasty, and not nutritious.”
What is the attitude towards the human person in this society?
Personality is leveled: “our life belongs to the team”; “every life of a worker must be used to the last second.” Human life is inviolable only because the collective must use it. Therefore, Prisypkin was unfrozen – “in the name of studying the labor skills of a working person, in the name of a visual comparative study of life.” Therefore, it is impossible to “freeze it back” – it does not belong to itself. Prisypkin, since the walls of the room are made of frosted glass, “even the card of your beloved girl cannot be stuck to the wall,” and he shouts: “Comrades, I protest!!! I’m not big enough for you to dry me now.
What is the relationship between the past and the future in the play?
Although fifty years have passed and many people of the past are still alive, the people of the future know almost nothing and do not remember this past. Different eras are divided, torn apart. But in the future, much remains of the past: “the former Tambov”, cries of “down!” during voting, the names of newspapers such as Izvestia of the Chicago Council, The Roman Red Newspaper, The Kabul Pioneer, The Shanghai Poor Peasant, The Madrid Laborer. The stamps are alive. Let us recall how Bayan’s speech at the wedding ridicules Soviet ideological clichés, and not just the hero’s tongue-tied tongue: “What capital steps are we taking forward along the path of our family building! Unless when you and I were dying near Perekop, and many even died, could we imagine that these roses would bloom and smell sweet to us already in this period of time? When we groaned under the yoke of the autocracy, could our great teachers Marx and Engels at least supposedly dream or even dreamily assume that we will combine unknown but great labor with the bonds of Hymen and defeated but charming capital? Note that the past (the times of Marx and Engels) and the present, the Prisypkinskoe, also collide here.
– How is the main character, Prisypkin, portrayed?
The characterization of the protagonist is given even before the action begins, in the list of characters: “Prisypkin – Pierre Skripkin – a former worker, a former party member, now a fiancé.” A guy from the “youth hostel” wittily says about Prisypkin: “not a tie to him, but he is tied to a tie. He doesn’t even think – he’s afraid to move his head. ” Prisypkin wants to name his future children “aristocratically-cinematically”: Dorothy and Lillian. “My future offspring should be brought up in a graceful spirit. In!” he says. And in the same vein: “For my money I demand that there be a red wedding and no gods!” Bayan’s answer sounds mockingly parodic: “By the power, according to Plekhanov, of the imagination permitted to Marxists, I seem to see through a prism your class, sublime, elegant and delightful triumph! .. The bride climbs out of the carriage – the red bride … all red, – evaporated, means; she is led out by her red-faced father, the accountant Erykalov—he is just a fat, red, apoplectic man—it is the red best men who bring you in, the whole table covered in red ham and bottles with red heads. The red guests shout “bitterly, bitterly,” and then the red one (already the wife) holds out red-red lips to you … Prisypkin is delighted – he dreams about this. (Let’s recall the similar dreams of a Soviet official and his wife, “Comrade Nadia”, from the poem “About Rubbish”). To his former fiancee Zoya Berezkina, Prisypkin declares: “Citizen! Our love has been destroyed. Do not interfere with free civic feeling, otherwise I will call the police.
– Does the main character himself, Prisypkin, change in a new society for him?
The society of the future sees in Prisypkin an “animal” and an “insect”, and the director, stating that it is “tame”, nevertheless, before taking him out of the cage, “examines the pistols”. Prisypkin does not change, he remains a “bug”, “philistine vulgaris”, a petty bloodsucker, because of which blood was shed and a human life could be cut short. Zoya Berezkina, having figured out Prisypkin, despises him from the bottom of her heart.
– Why did Mayakovsky portray the future society as helpless before Prisypkin?
The future society is sterile, emasculated, overorganized. There are no feelings and normal human relations. There is no art here, no bright, outstanding people, no consciousness of the value of human life. Such a society has nothing to counter the epidemics of philistinism, it is just as soulless as Prisypkin.