The novel “Eugene Onegin” was written by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin in 1823 – 1831. The work is one of the most significant creations of Russian literature – according to Belinsky it is the “encyclopedia of Russian life” of the early 19th century.
The novel in Pushkin’s poetry “Eugene Onegin” refers to the literary direction of realism, although in the first chapters the influence on the author of the traditions of romanticism is still noticeable. There are two plot lines in the work: the central one is the tragic love story of Eugene Onegin and Tatyana Larina, and also the secondary love of Onegin and Lensky.
Eugene Onegin is a prominent youth of eighteen, a descendant of a noble family, who received
Tatyana Larina is the eldest daughter of the Larins, a quiet, calm, serious girl of seventeen, who loved to read books and spend a lot of time alone.
Vladimir Lensky – a young landlord who was “almost eighteen years old,” a poet, a dreamy person. At the beginning of the novel, Vladimir returns to his native village from Germany, where he studied.
Olga Larina – the youngest daughter of the Larins, the beloved and the bride of Vladimir Lensky, always cheerful and sweet, she was the complete opposite of her older sister.
The author of the work is Pushkin himself, on his behalf there is a narrative in the novel.
Princess Polina Larina is the mother of Olga and Tatyana Larinykh.
Filipyevna – nurse Tatyana.
Princess Alina is Tatyana and Olga’s aunt, Praskovia’s sister.
Zaretsky – Onegin’s neighbor and Larin, Vladimir’s second in a duel with Eugene, a former gambler who became a “peaceful” landowner.
Prince N. – Tatiana’s husband, “an important general,” a friend of Onegin’s youth.
“Take the collection of motley chapters,
Careless fruit of my amusements.”
In the first chapter the author acquaints the reader with the hero of the novel – Eugene Onegin, the heir of a rich family who hurries to his dying uncle. The young man was born on the banks of the Neva River, his father lived in debt, often arranged balls, because of which he eventually lost his fortune.
When Onegin matured enough to go out, the high society accepted the young man well, as he was fluent in French, easily danced the mazurka and was able to reason with ease on any topic. However, it was not science or the brilliance that most interested Eugene – “true genius” he was in “the science of tender passion” – Onegin could turn the head of any lady, while remaining in friendly relations with her husband and fans.
Evgeny lived an idle life, walking in the afternoon on the boulevard, and in the evening visiting luxurious lounges, where he was invited by famous people of Petersburg. The author emphasizes that Onegin, “fearing jealous convictions”, very much followed his appearance, so he could stay in front of the mirror for three hours, bringing his image to perfection. From the balls Evgeny returned in the morning, when the rest of Petersburg residents hurry to the service. By noon, the young man woke up and again
“Until the morning his life is ready,
Monotonous and Pestra.”
But is Onegin happy?
“No: early feelings in him cooled down,
He got bored of the light noise.”
Gradually, the “Russian spleen” took possession of the hero, and he, like Chide-Harold, appeared sullen and languid in the light – “nothing touched him, he did not notice anything.”
Eugene closes from the society, locks himself at home and tries to write himself, but the young man does not get anything, because “hard work was toughened to him.” After that, the hero begins to read a lot, but realizes that literature will not save him: “as women, he left books.” Eugene from the sociable, secular man becomes a closed young man, prone to “caustic argument” and “joke with bile in half.”
Onegin and the narrator were going to leave Petersburg for Petersburg, but their plans changed the death of Father Eugene. The young man had to give the entire inheritance to pay his father’s debts, so the hero remained in St. Petersburg. Soon Onegin received the news that his uncle was dying and wanted to say goodbye to his nephew. When the hero arrived, my uncle had already died. As it turned out, the deceased bequeathed to Eugene a huge estate: lands, forests, factories.
Eugene lived in a picturesque village, his house was by the river, surrounded by a garden. Wanting to entertain himself somehow, Onegin decided to introduce new orders in his domains: he replaced the corvee with “a dowry easy”. Because of this, the neighbors began to treat the hero cautiously, believing that “he is a dangerous oddball.” At the same time, Eugene himself eschewed his neighbors, avoiding acquaintance with them in every possible way.
At the same time, a young landowner, Vladimir Lensky, returned to one of the nearest villages from Germany. Vladimir was kind of romantic,
“With a soul directly Göttingen,
Handsome, in full bloom,
Kant’s Fan and poet.”
Lensky wrote his poems about love, was a dreamer and hoped to uncover the mystery of the purpose of life. In the village of Lensky, “according to custom,” was taken for a lucrative bridegroom.
However, among rural people, Lensky’s special attention was drawn to the figure of Onegin and Vladimir and Evgeny gradually became friends:
“They came together, wave and stone,
Poems and prose, ice and flame.”
Vladimir read to Evgeny his works, talked about philosophical things. Onegin listened with a smile to Lensky’s ardent speeches, but refrained from sensibly understanding a friend, realizing that life itself would do it for him. Gradually, Eugene notes that Vladimir is in love. Beloved Lensky was Olga Larina, with whom the young man was familiar in childhood, and parents predicted their wedding in the future.
The author gives a description of the Larin family. Olga, the youngest daughter, was
“Always modest, always obedient,
Always like a merriment morning,
As the life of a poet is simple,
As a kiss of love is sweet.”
The opposite of Olga was her older sister – Tatiana:
“Dick, sad, silent,
Like a deer forest afraid.”
The girl did not find gay usual girlish amusements, loved to read the novels of Richardson and Rousseau,
“And often all day
long I sat silently by the window.”
The mother of Tatyana and Olga Princess Polina was in love with another in her youth: the sergeant of the guard, the dandy and the player, but without the demand her parents married Larin. The woman at first was sad, and after she took up farming, “got used and was happy”, and gradually in their family reigned tranquility. After living a quiet life, Larin aged and died.
Lensky begins to spend all evenings with the Larins. Eugene is surprised that he found a friend in society “a simple, Russian family,” where all the talk is reduced to a discussion of the economy. Lensky explains that it is more pleasant for a home society than for a secular circle. Onegin asks if he can see Lensky’s beloved and the friend calls him to go to the Larin.
Returning from the Larins, Onegin tells Vladimir that he was pleased to get acquainted with them, but his attention was more attracted not to Olga, who “does not have life features,” but her sister Tatiana “who is sad and silent, like Svetlana.” The appearance of Onegin at the Larins caused gossip that, perhaps, Tatiana and Eugene are already engaged. Tatyana understands that she fell in love with Onegin. The girl begins to see in the heroes of novels Eugene, to dream of a young man, walking in the “silence of the woods” with books about love.
Somehow a sleepless night Tatiana, sitting in the garden, asks the nurse to tell about her youth, about whether the woman was in love. Nurse says that she was married by agreement at age 13 for a guy younger than her, so the old lady does not know what love is. Peering into the moon, Tatiana decides to write Onegin a letter with a declaration of love in French, since at that time it was customary to write letters exclusively in French.
In the message, the girl writes that she would be silent about her feelings if she were sure that she could even see Evgeni sometimes. Tatiana argues that if Onegin had not settled in their village, perhaps her fate would have developed differently. But he immediately denies this possibility:
“That’s the will of the sky: I am yours,
My whole life was a pledge of the
Faithful with you.”
Tatiana writes that it was Onegin who appeared to her in dreams and it was about him that she dreamed. At the end of the letter, the girl “hands” Onegin his fate:
“I’m waiting for you: with a single eye of
revive the hearts, Or sleep a heavy break,
Alas, deserved reproach!”
In the morning Tatiana asks Filipyevna to give Eugene a letter. Two days from Onegin there was no answer. Lenski assures that Eugene promised to visit the Larins. Finally Onegin arrives. Tatiana, in fright, runs to the garden. A little calmed down, goes into the avenue and sees straight ahead of him standing “like a formidable shadow” Eugene.
Eugene, who, even in his youth, was disappointed with his relations with women, was touched by Tatiana’s letter, and that’s why he did not want to deceive the gullible, innocent girl.
Having met in the garden with Tatiana, Eugene spoke first. The young man said that he was very touched by her sincerity, so he wants to “repay” the girl with her “confession.” Onegin tells Tatyana that if he had been given the “nice lot” to become a father and a spouse, he would not have looked for another bride, choosing Tatyana as “friend of the sad days”. However, Eugene “is not created for bliss”. Onegin says that he loves Tatyana as a brother and at the end of his “confession” turns into a sermon to the girl:
“Learn to rule
yourself, not everyone you, like me, will understand,
By misfortune inexperience leads.”
Reasoning about the act of Onegin, the narrator writes that Eugene did very nobly with the girl.
After a date in the garden Tatiana became even sadder, experiencing because of unhappy love. Among the neighbors there are talks that the girl is about to get married. At this time, the relationship between Lensky and Olga develops, young people spend more and more time together.
Onegin also lived as a hermit, walking and reading. In one of the winter evenings Lensky comes to see him. Eugene asks a friend about Tatiana and Olga. Vladimir says that in two weeks their wedding with Olga is scheduled, which Lenski is very happy with. In addition, Vladimir recalls that the Larins invited Onegin to visit Tatyana’s name-day.
Tatiana was very fond of Russian winter, including Epiphany evenings, when girls were guessing. She believed in dreams, signs and fortune-telling. In one of the Epiphany evenings, Tatiana went to bed, putting a girl’s mirror under the pillow.
The girl dreamed that she was walking through the snow in the mist, and in front of her there was a river, through which a “trembling, fatal bridge” was thrown. Tatiana does not know how to go, but then a bear appears from the back of the stream and helps her to cross. The girl tries to escape from the bear, but the “shaggy footman” followed her. Tatiana, unable to escape anymore, falls into the snow. The bear picks it up and brings it into the “wretched” hut appeared between the trees, telling the girl that his cousin is here. Recovering herself, Tatyana saw that she was in the hallway, and behind the door she heard “the scream and ringing of a glass, like at a big funeral.” The girl looked into the crack: there were monsters at the table, among whom she saw Onegin, the owner of the feast. From curiosity, the girl opens the door, all monsters begin to reach for her, but Evgenie drives them away. The monsters disappear, Onegin and Tatyana sit down on a bench, the young man puts his head on the girl’s shoulder. Then Olga and Lensky appear, Eugene starts scolding uninvited guests, suddenly snatches out a long knife and kills Vladimir. In horror, Tatiana wakes up and tries to explain the dream in the book of Martyn Zadeki.
Tatyana’s namesday, in the house full of guests, everyone is laughing, crowding, greeting. Lensky comes with Onegin. Eugenia is put in front of Tatyana. The girl is embarrassed, afraid to raise her eyes to Onegin, she is already ready to burst into tears. Eugene, noticing the excitement of Tatiana, became angry and decided to take revenge on Lensky, who brought him to the feast. When the dancing began, Onegin invites Olga exclusively, without leaving the girl even in the intervals between dances. Lenski, seeing this, “flashes in indignation jealous.” Even when Vladimir wants to invite the bride to dance, it turns out that she already promised Onegin.
“Lenska can not bear the blow” – Vladimir leaves the holiday, thinking that only a duel can solve the current situation.
Noticing that Vladimir had left, Onegin lost all interest in Olga and returned home after the evening. In the morning Zaretsky comes to Onegin and gives him a note from Lensky with a challenge to a duel. Eugene agrees to a duel, but, left alone, blames himself for having joked about his friend’s love in vain. According to the terms of the duel, the heroes had to meet at the mill before dawn.
Before the duel Lensky drove to Olga, thinking of embarrassment, but the girl joyfully met him, than dispelled the jealousy and annoyance of her beloved. All evening Lenski was distracted. Having arrived from Olga home, Vladimir inspected the pistols and, thinking of Olga, wrote poetry, in which he asked the girl in case of his death to come to his grave.
In the morning, Eugene overslept, so he was late for the duel. Vladimir’s second was Zaretsky, Secondary by Onegin monsieur Guillot. At the command of Zaretsky the young men agreed, and the duel began. Eugene is the first to raise his pistol – when Lensky just started aiming, Onegin is already shooting and killing Vladimir. Lenski instantly dies. Eugene looks at the body of his friend in horror.
The author discusses the life of Vladimir, perhaps he “was born for the good of the world or for glory.” Lensky was put a simple monument in the shade by the stream.
Olga did not cry for a long time about Lensky, soon fell in love with an ulan and married him. After the wedding, the girl and her husband went to the regiment.
Tatyana still could not forget Onegin. One day, walking around the field at night, the girl accidentally went to the house of Eugene. The girl is greeted by a courteous family and Tatyana is admitted to Onegin’s house. The girl, examining the rooms, “long in a fashionable cell is how fascinated it is.” Tatiana begins to visit Evgenia’s house all the time. The girl reads books of her lover, tries to understand from the notes on the fields what kind of person Onegin is.
At this time, the Larins begin talking about the fact that Tatiana has long been time to marry. Princess Pauline worries that her daughter refuses everything. Larina is advised to take the girl to the “fair of brides” in Moscow.
In winter Larina, having collected all the necessary things, leave for Moscow. They stopped at the old aunt – Princess Alina. Larins begin to travel around many friends and relatives, but the girl is always bored and uninteresting. Finally Tatiana is brought to the “Collecting”, where many brides, dandies, and hussars gathered. While everyone is having fun and dancing, the girl “is not seen by anyone” is standing by the column, remembering life in the village. Then one of the aunts drew Tanya’s attention to the “fat general”.
The narrator again meets with already 26-year-old Onegin on one of the secular parties. Eugene
“Touging in idle leisure
Without service, without a wife, without
work, I could not do anything.”
Before this, Onegin traveled for a long time, but he also got tired of it, and, “he came back and hit, like Chatsky, from the ship to the ball.”
At the evening, a lady appears with a general who attracts the public’s attention. This woman looked “quiet” and “just”. In a socialite, Evgenie finds out Tatyana. Asking the friend of the prince who this woman is, Onegin finds out that she is the wife of this prince and indeed Tatiana Larina. When the prince brings Onegin to a woman, Tatyana does not betray her excitement, while Eugene lost his speech. Onegin can not believe that this is the same girl who once wrote him a letter.
In the morning Eugene receives an invitation from Prince N. – Tatyana’s wife. Onegin, alarmed by his memories, is eagerly going to visit, however the “majestic”, “careless Legislator Hall” seems not to notice him. Unable to withstand, Eugene wrote a letter to a woman in which she confesses her love, finishing the message with lines:
“Everything is decided: I am in your will,
And surrender to my fate.”
However, the answer does not come. The man sends a second, third letter. Onegin again “caught” the “cruel spleen,” he again locked himself in his office and began to read a lot, constantly thinking and dreaming of “secret devotions, a cordial, dark antiquity.”
In one of the spring days Onegin without an invitation goes to Tatiana. Eugene finds a woman crying bitterly over his letter. A man falls at her feet. Tatyana asks him to stand up and reminds Eugene in the garden, in the next she listened to his lesson, but now it’s her turn. She tells Onegin that then she was in love with him, but found in his heart only severity, although he does not blame him, considering the act of a man noble. The woman understands that now she is in many ways interesting to Eugene precisely because she became a prominent socialite. At parting Tatiana says:
“I love you,
But I’m given to another,
I’ll be faithful to him for a century”
And leaves. Eugene “as if thunderstruck” by Tatiana’s words.
“But a spur a sudden ringing sounded,
And Tatyanin’s husband appeared,
And here’s my hero,
In a minute, angry for him,
Reader, we’ll now leave,
For a long time… forever…”.
The novel in verse “Eugene Onegin” amazes with its depth of thought, the volume of the described events, phenomena and characters. In depicting in the work the mores and way of life of the cold, “European” Petersburg, patriarchal Moscow and the village – the center of folk culture, the author shows the reader the Russian life as a whole. A brief retelling of “Eugene Onegin” allows you to get acquainted only with the central episodes of the novel in verse, therefore, for a better understanding of the work, we recommend that you read the full version of the masterpiece of Russian literature.