Pushkin’s poems are of great interest not only from the artistic, but also from the point of view of the study of the evolution of his literary tastes. In particular, at one time the poet was very fond of Byron’s work and wrote several works in imitation of the famous Englishman. Among them, the “Bakhchisarai Fountain” is a work devoted, as the poet himself later admitted, to his lover, whose name remains a mystery to his biographers to this day.
History of creation of the work
Some researchers note that Pushkin heard a romantic legend about the Crimean Khan back in St. Petersburg. However, most likely, he learned it while visiting Bakhchisarai together with the family of General Raevsky in the early autumn of 1820. And neither the palace nor the fountain
Work on the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” (the content is presented below) was started in the spring of 1821, but the main part of the poet was written during 1822. In addition, it is known that the entry was created in 1823, and Vyazemsky made the final finishing and preparation for printing.
Who became the prototypes of the heroes of the poem “Bakhchisarai Fountain”?
One of the main characters of this work is Khan Giray, more precisely Kyrym Geray, the ruler of the Crimea, who ruled from 1758 to 1764 years. It was with him that the “Fountain of Tears” and many other structures appeared in the Bakhchsarai Palace, among them the mausoleum, in which, according to legend, the last love of the Khan, Dilyara-bikech, who died at the hands of a poisoner, was buried. the memorial of this girl was built a mournful marble monument that exuded a drop of water. Therefore, it is possible that the real heroine, to whom the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai,” which is briefly described below, was not at all Polish Maria, where did this legend come from about the princess? Perhaps it was invented in the family of Sofya Kiseleva, nee Pototskaya, with whom the poet was very friendly.
“The Bakhchsarai Fountain”, Pushkin. Summary of the first part
In his palace the sad Khan Girey forgot about rest and enjoyment. He is not interested in war or the machinations of enemies. He goes to the female half, where his beautiful women languish in anguish by his caresses, and he hears the song of the slaves, whom they sing to the glory of the Georgian Zarema, calling her the beauty of a harem. However, the lover of the lord no longer smiles, since the khan has fallen out of love, and now young Maria reigns in his heart. This Polish woman recently became an inhabitant of the harem of the Bakhchsarai Palace and can not forget her father’s house and her position as the adored daughter of an old father and an enviable bride for many noble nobles who were looking for her hands.
How did this daughter of the nobleman become the slave of Khan Girey? Hordes of Tatars poured into Poland and ruined her father’s house, and she herself became their prey and a precious gift to her lord. In captivity, the girl began to yearn, and her only joy now is prayers in front of the image of the Virgin, who day and night illuminates an inextinguishable lamp. Maria is the only one who is allowed to keep the symbols of the Christian faith in her room in the khan’s palace, and even Girey himself does not dare to disturb her peace and solitude.
The scene of the meeting between Mary and Zarema
Then the narrative is interrupted, and the action is transferred to that part of the palace where Mary’s chambers are.
Night has come. However, Zarema does not sleep, which sneaks into the room to the Polish girl and sees the image of the Virgin Mary. Georgian for a second remembers her distant homeland, but then her gaze falls on the sleeping Mary. Zarema kneels before the Polish princess and begs her to return her heart to Girey. Waking up Maria, asks the beloved wife of the khan, what she needs from an unfortunate captive, dreaming only of going to her heavenly father. Then Zarema tells her that she does not remember how she ended up at the Bakhchsarai Palace, but she did not become a burden because of her love for Girey. However, the appearance of Mary destroyed her happiness, and if she does not return the heart of the khan to her, she will not stop at anything. Having finished her speech, the Georgian disappears, leaving Maria to mourn her bitter share and dream of death, which seems more preferable to the fate of the khan’s concubine.
Some time has passed. Maria went to heaven, but Zarema could not return Girey. Moreover, the same night, when the princess left this sinful world, the Georgian was thrown into the sea abyss. The Khan himself surrendered to the joys of war in the hope of forgetting about the beautiful Polish woman, who had not reciprocated him. But he does not succeed, and, returning to Bakhchisarai, Girey orders to erect a fountain in memory of the princess, who the Virgin of Tauris, who recognized this sad story, was called the “Fountain of Tears.”
“Bakhchisaray fountain”: analysis of heroes’ images
As already mentioned, one of the central characters of the poem is Khan Girey. Next, the author sins before history. After all, his hero is troubled by the “machinations of Genoa,” that is, he lived no later than 1475, and the famous fountain was built in the 1760’s, however, literary scholars consider such a separation from historical realities quite natural and inherent in romanticism.
As in some of Byron’s poems, the “oriental hero” has his own European antagonist, but Pushkin himself has Girey himself, who, having fallen in love with the Christian Mary, has departed from his eastern principles and habits, for example, he does not have enough passionate love of Zarema, who became a Mohammedan in the harem, and he also respects the feelings of the Polish princess, including religious ones.
As for women’s images, the eastern beauty Zarema, for whom the main thing in life is sensual love, Pushkin contrasts the virgin princess Mary. Of all three characters that are represented in the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” (the summary only gives a poor idea of the original), Zarema is most interesting. Her image counterbalances the “eastern” Khan Girey and the “westernness” of the Polish woman, who dreams only of the kingdom of heaven. Following Byron’s tradition, in the plot of the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” Pushkin (a short summary of this work read above) leaves a lot of misunderstandings. In particular, the reader is informed that Maria died, but how and why he can only guess.
Another, but inanimate hero of the poem “Bakhchisarai Fountain” is the marble monument erected by Girey. In it, as it were, the tears shed by Mary before the icon of the Blessed Virgin and the water of the abyss, in which the unfortunate Zarema perished, merge into a single whole. Thus, the poem “Bakhchisarai Fountain” (the analysis of this work is still the subject of discussions among literary critics) became Pushkin’s second Byronic poem and his tribute to Romanticism.
History of the edition
The poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai”, whose brief content you already know, was first published on March 10, 1824 in Petersburg, and the author of its preface was Vyazemsky, who wrote it in the form of a dialogue between “Classic” and “Publisher.” In addition, following the text his poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai” (you already know the short content of this work) Pushkin ordered Viazemsky to publish a story about the trip along the Taurida of the writer IM Muravev-Apostol. In it the father of three famous Decembrists described his visit to the palace of Khan Giray and in passing mentioned the legend concerning his love for Maria Potocki.
Ballet “Bakhchsarai Fountain”
In 1934, the famous Soviet composer B. Astafyev had an idea to write music for choreodrama based on the work of Alexander Pushkin. The fact that the poem “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai”, a brief summary of which is presented above, has long attracted attention as a fertile ground for the creation of a spectacular musical performance. Soon, in collaboration with librettist N. Volkov, director S. Radlov and choreographer R. Zakharov B Astafiev created a ballet that has been on the scene for many theaters of Russia and the world for more than 80 years.
Now you know what the “Bakhchisarai Fountain” is – Pushkin’s poem, created by him in imitation of Byron during the southern exile.