Alexander Nikolaevich Ostrovsky is rightly considered the singer of the merchant’s environment. His pen belongs to about sixty plays, the most famous of which are “His people – we will be counted”, “Groza”, “Bespridnitsa” and others.
“Storm,” as Dobrolyubov characterized it, is “the most resolute work” of the author, since the mutual relations of tyranny and mute have been brought to her in tragic consequences… “It was written at the time of the social upsurge, on the eve of the peasant reform, author of the “dark kingdom”.
Imagination of the writer takes us to a small merchant town on the bank of the Volga, “… all in the green, from the steep banks are visible distant spaces, covered with villages and nivami. A gracious summer day attracts to the air, to the open sky…”, admire local beauties, walk along the boulevard. Residents have already got accustomed
to the beautiful nature in the vicinity of the city, and it does not please anyone. Most of the time, the townspeople spend their time at home: they farm, rest, “in the evenings,” they sit on the banks at the gate and are engaged in pious conversations. ” They are not interested in anything that goes beyond the boundaries of the city. About what is done in the world, the inhabitants of Kalinov learn from the wanderers, who, “on their own weakness, did not go far, but heard a lot.” Feklusha enjoys great reverence among the townspeople, her stories about the lands, where people with bushy heads live, are perceived as irrefutable information about the world. It does not disinterestedly support Kabanikh and Wild, their concepts of life, although these characters are the leaders of the “dark kingdom”.
In the Kabanikhi’s house everything is built on the authority of strength, as in the Wild. It forces the relatives to honor the rituals and follow the old customs of “Domostroi”, which they altered in their own way. Marfa Ignatyevna internally realizes that there
is nothing to respect her, but she does not admit it even to herself. By his petty demands, reminders and suggestions, Kabanikha achieves unquestioning obedience to the household.
Wrestling for him is also a way of self-defense when it comes to money, which he does not like to die as a gift.
But something is already undermining their power, and they are horrified to see how the “covenants of patriarchal morality” crumble. This is the “law of time, the law of nature and history takes its toll and the old Kabanovs breathe heavily, feeling that there is power above them, which they can not overcome,” nevertheless, they are trying to inspire their rules to the younger generation, and not to no avail.
For example, Varvara is the daughter of Marfa Kabanova. Its main rule: “do what you want, if only everything is shit and yes it was.” She is clever, clever, before marriage she wants to have time everywhere, try everything. Varvara has adapted to the “dark kingdom”, has learned its laws. I think the power and desire to deceive makes her very similar to her mother.
In the play, the similarity between Varvara and Kudryash is seen. Ivan is the only one in the city of Kalinov who can answer Dikomu. “I’m considered rude, why does he keep me?” So, I need him, so, I’m not afraid of him, but let him be afraid of me… “, says Kudryash.
Eventually, Varvara and Ivan leave the “dark realm”, but I think they will be completely freed from the old traditions and laws, they are unlikely to succeed.
Now let’s turn to the true victims of tyranny. Tikhon – Catherine’s husband – weak-willed and spineless, listens to his mother in everything and is slowly asleep. Of course, Katerina can not love and respect such a person, but her soul craves a real feeling. She falls in love with the nephew of Wild, Boris. But Katya fell in love with him, according to Dobrolyubov’s apt expression, “in the desert.” In fact, Boris is the same Tikhon, only more educated. He exchanged love for his grandmother’s inheritance.
Katerina differs from all the heroes of the play with the depth of her feelings, honesty, boldness and determination. “I do not know how to deceive, I can not hide anything,” she says to Varvara.
She sees the way out of this impasse in her death. Katie’s act stirred up this “quiet swamp,” because there were sympathizing souls, for example, Kuligin was a self-taught mechanic. He is kind and obsessive about doing something useful for people, but all his intentions run into a thick wall of misunderstanding and ignorance.
Thus, we see that all the inhabitants of Kalinov belong to the “dark kingdom”, which establishes its own rules and regulations here, and nobody can change them, because such are the customs of this city, and who will not be able to adapt to such an environment, alas, is doomed to death.