Summary “The Caucasian Prisoner”

Summary “The Caucasian Prisoner”

The story of Leo Tolstoy was written in 1872 and refers to the literary realism direction. The title of the work refers the reader to A. Pushkin’s poem “The Caucasian Prisoner”. However, unlike his predecessor, Tolstoy in his story depicted not a romantic, idealized character, but the usual Russian officer Zhilin – a brave, industrious and human hero who can always find a way out of a difficult situation.

Main characters

Zhilin – a gentleman from a poor family, an officer, served in the Caucasus. Going home, was captured by the Tatars, from which he escaped only the second time.

Kostylin is an officer with whom Zhilin was taken prisoner to the Tatars.

Other characters

Dinah is Abdul-Murat’s daughter, “thin,

thin, thirteen years old.” I was carrying food to Zhilin, when he was in captivity, helped him escape.

Abdul-Murat is the “master”, a Tatar who bought Zhilin and Kostylina, Dina’s father.

Chapter 1

Zhilin serves in the Caucasus as an officer. One day he receives a letter from his mother asking to come home. After thinking, Zhilin “straightened his vacation”, said goodbye to his friends and was going to go.

“In the Caucasus, the war was then” – the Tatars attacked lone travelers, so Zilin’s train was accompanied by soldiers. Wanting to get there faster, the officer decides to tear himself away from the escorts, Kostylin joins him. However, on the way they met the Tatars. Through the fault of Kostylin, who was frightened and fled, unarmed Zhilin was seized and taken to the village. The prisoner was given a shoe and locked in a shed.

Chapter 2

After a while, Zhilin was informed that the Tatar who had seized him also caught Kostylin and sold the captives to Abdul-Murat, who was now their “master.” The Tatar forced the captives to write home letters with a request for redemption. Zhilin understood that his mother had no money, so he wrote a letter with the wrong address so that it would not reach.


Zhilin and Kostylin spent a month in the shed. In the afternoon they were put on pads and shot at night. Zhilin “for every needlework master was”, so for fun began to sculpt dolls of clay for the host daughter of Dina. The girl, grateful to the man for the toys, secretly brought him food-milk and flat cakes.

Chapter 4

Planning the escape, Zhilin began to dig in the barn-laz. One of the nights, when the Tatars left the village, the prisoners fled.

Chapter 5

The officers left the village without hindrance. Soon Kostylin began to complain that he had rubbed his feet. Almost the whole night they walked through the forest, Kostylin lagged far behind, and when the comrade could no longer walk, Zhilin carried it on himself. On the road they were caught by other Tatars and taken to Abdul-Murat.

In the village, the Russians wanted to kill, but Abdul-Murat decided to wait for the ransom. Once again the fugitives were put on pads and this time they were lowered into a pit with a depth of five arshins.

Chapter 6

“Their life became completely bad.” The officers were given raw food, “like dogs,” in the pit itself it was wet and stuffy. Kostylin fell seriously ill – “everyone is moaning or asleep,” and Zhilin was despondent. ” Once a pit appeared Dina – a girl brought them food. On another occasion, she reported that Zilina was about to be killed. The officer asked the girl to bring him a long stick, and at night Dina dropped a long pole into the pit.

Zhilin was going to take Kostylin with him, but he was too weak to refuse. With the help of Dina, the officer got out of the pit. He was very disturbed by the shoe, but he could not knock down the lock, he had to run like that. Saying goodbye, Dina burst into tears and gave the man a flat cake.

The officer went through the forest and, going to the field, saw the Cossacks on the left sitting by the fires. Zhilin hurried to cross the field, being afraid on the way to meet the Tatars. So it happened – he did not have time to reach his own, as three Tatars noticed him. Then Zhilin waved his hands and shouted: “Brothers! Save! Brothers!”. The Cossacks heard him, they started across the Tatars and rescued the fugitive.

Upon learning of Zhilin, the officers took him to the fortress. Zhilin realized that it was not his destiny to go home and marry, so he stayed to serve in the Caucasus. “But only a month later Kostylina was redeemed for five thousand.” They brought the living man barely. “


In the story “Caucasian Captive” Tolstoy, on the example of the images of Russian officers Zhilin and Kostylina, reveals important moral issues – loyalty, friendship, comradely duty, responsiveness, kindness, steadfastness and courage. Developing a parallel line of friendship between Zhilin and Dina, the author shows that true kindness and tolerance can nullify any evil, even the opposition of peoples and war.

A brief retelling of the “Prisoner of the Caucasus” helps you to get acquainted with the main events and a brief description of the story, but for a better understanding of the story, we recommend reading its full version.

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Summary “The Caucasian Prisoner”