Summary “The Hero of Our Time”

Over the novel “The Hero of Our Time” M. Yu. Lermontov worked in 1838-1840. His idea was born at the time of the writer’s reference to the Caucasus in 1838. The first parts of the novel were published within one year in the journal Otechestvennye zapiski. They aroused interest from the readers. Lermontov, seeing the popularity of these works, combined them into one big novel. In the title, the author sought to justify the relevance of his creation to contemporaries. In the edition of 1841 the preface of the writer was also included in connection with those questions that arose among the readers. We bring to your attention a brief summary of the “Hero of Our Time” chapters.

Main characters

Pechorin Grigory Alexandrovich – the central hero of the entire story, an officer of the royal army, a sensitive and exalted nature, but selfish. Beautiful, superbly complex, charming and intelligent. He is burdened by his arrogance and individualism,

but he does not want to overcome either one or the other.

Bela is the daughter of a Circassian prince. Treacherously abducted by his brother Azamat, becomes a lover Pechorin. Bela is beautiful and intelligent, pure and straightforward. Dying from the dagger in love with her Circassian Kazbich.

Mary – a noble girl, with whom Pechorin accidentally met and made every effort to fall in love with her. Educated and intelligent, proud and generous. The break with Pechorin becomes for her a profound tragedy.

Maxim Maksimych is an officer of the tsarist army. A kind and honest man, the boss and close friend of Pechorin, an unwitting witness of his love affairs and life conflicts.

The narrator is a traveler who became an accidental acquaintance of Maxim Maksimovich and listened to and recorded his story about Pechorin.

Other characters

Azamat is a Circassian prince, an unbalanced and greedy youth, Bela’s brother.

Kazbich is a young Circassian who is in love with Bel and became her killer.

Grushnitsky is a young cadet, a man of pride and self-control. Pechorin’s

opponent, killed by him in a duel.

Vera – the former lover of Pechorin, appears in the novel as a reminder of his past in Petersburg.

Undine – an unnamed smuggler, struck Pechorin with his appearance.

Yanko is a smuggler, Undine’s friend.

Werner is a doctor, an intelligent and educated person, a friend of Pechorin’s.

Vulich is an officer, a Serb by nationality, a young and adventurous person, Pechorin’s acquaintance.


In the foreword the author turns to readers. He points to the fact that readers are amazed at the negative features of the protagonist of his work and reproach the author for this. However, Lermontov points out that his hero – is the embodiment of the vices of his time, so he is modern. The author also believes that one can not always feed readers with sweet stories and fairy tales, they must see and understand life as it is.

We briefly presented the work of the author.

The work of the work takes place in the Caucasus in the beginning of the XIX century. Partly on this territory of the Russian Empire, military operations against mountain people are conducted.

Part one
I. Bela

This part begins with the fact that the storyteller-officer meets on the way to the Caucasus the elderly captain-captain Maxim Maximovich, who makes a positive impression on him. The narrator and the staff captain become buddies. Once in a snowstorm, the heroes begin to recall the events of their lives, and the captain tells about a young officer he knew about four and a half years ago.

The name of this officer was Grigory Pechorin. He was handsome face, statue and clever. However, the character was strange: then he complained about nothing as a girl, then fearlessly galloped on a horse on the rocks. Maxim Maksimovich at that time was the commandant of a military fortress, in which under his command this mysterious young officer served.

Soon the sensitive captain noticed that his new subordinate began to miss in the wilderness. Being a kind person, he decided to help his officer to unwind. At that time he was invited to the wedding of the eldest daughter of the Circassian prince, who lived not far from the fortress and sought to establish good relations with the royal officers.

At the wedding Pechorin liked the youngest daughter of the prince – beautiful and graceful Bela.

Fleeing from the stuffiness in the room, Maxim Maximovich went out into the street and became an involuntary listener of the conversation that took place between Kazbich and his brother Bela Azamat. The latter offered Kazbich any price for his magnificent horse, proving that for the horse he was even ready to steal his sister for him. Azamat knew that Kazbich was not indifferent to Bel, but the proud Circassian Kazbich only brushed aside the annoying young man.

Maksim Maksimovich, after listening to this conversation, inadvertently told him to Pechorin, not knowing what his young colleague was planning in his heart.

It turned out that Pechorin later suggested that Azamat steal Bel for him, promising in return to promote that Kazbich’s horse would become his.

Azamat fulfilled the agreement and took the beautiful sister to the fortress to Pechorin. When Kazbich drove the sheep into the fortress, Pechorin distracted him, while Azamat at that time stole his faithful horse Karagez. Kazbich vowed to take revenge on the offender.

Later in the fortress came the news that Kazbich had killed the Circassian prince – the beloved father of Bela and Azamat, suspecting him of complicity in the kidnapping of his horse.

Meanwhile, Bela began to live in a fortress near Pechorin. He treated her extraordinarily carefully, without offending either word or deed. Pechorin hired a Circassian who began to serve Bela. Pechorin himself affectionate and pleasant walking captivated the heart of the proud beauty. The girl fell in love with her captor. However, having achieved the location of the beauty, Pechorin lost interest in it. Bela felt a chill from her beloved and became very uneasy about it.

Maxim Maksimovich, having grown fond of the girl as a native daughter, tried to console her with all her strength. One day, when Pechorin left the fortress, the headquarters officer suggested that Bela walk with him outside the walls. From a distance they saw Kazbich riding on Bela’s father’s horse. The girl was scared for her life.

Some time passed. Pechorin communicated less and less with Bela, she began to yearn. One day, Maxim Maksimovich and Pechorin were not in the fortress, when they returned, they noticed from afar the horse of the prince and in the saddle of Kazbich, who was carrying a bag on it. When the officers chased Kazbich, the Circassian uncovered the sack and carried a dagger over it. It became clear that in the sack he was holding Bela. Kazbich abandoned his booty and galloped away.

The officers approached the mortally wounded girl, gently raised her and drove him to the fortress. Bela was able to live two more days. In a delirium, she remembered Pechorin, spoke of her love for him and wished she and Grigory Alexandrovich were in different faiths, so, in her opinion, they would not be able to meet in paradise.

When Bela was buried, Maxim Maksimovich no longer spoke of her with Pechorin. Then the elderly staff captain came to the conclusion that Bela’s death was the best way out of the situation. After all, Pechorin would eventually leave her, and she could not survive such a betrayal.

After serving in the fortress under the leadership of Maxim Maximovich Pechorin left to continue it to Georgia. He did not give any news about himself.

The captain’s story ended here.

II. Maxim Maksimovich

The narrator and Maxim Maksimovich parted, each went on his own business, but soon they unexpectedly met again. Maxim Maksimovich with excitement told that again quite unexpectedly he met Pechorin. He found out that he had retired now and decided to go to Persia. The elderly captain-general wanted to talk with an old friend who had not seen him for about five years, but Pechorin did not at all seek such communication, which greatly offended the old officer.

Maxim Maksimovich could not sleep all night, but in the morning again decided to talk with Pechorin. But he showed a coldness and ostentatious indifference. The staff captain was very saddened.

The narrator, seeing Pechorin personally, decided to convey to readers his impressions of his appearance and manner of holding on. He was a middle-aged man with a beautiful and expressive face, which women always liked. He knew how to keep company and talk. Pechorin dressed well and without a call, his suit emphasized the harmony of his body. However, in all its appearance, the eyes that struck the interlocutor coldly, hard and shrewdly. Pechorin practically did not use gesticulation in communication, which was a sign of secrecy and distrust.

He left swiftly, leaving only bright memories of himself.

The narrator informed the readers that Maxim Maksimovich, seeing his interest in Pechorin’s personality, gave him his magazine. For some time the diary was lying idle by the narrator, but after the death of Pechorin, the narrator decided to publish some of his parts.
The narrator, addressing the readers, asked them to condescension to the personality of Pechorin, because, despite his vices, he was at least sincere in describing them in detail.

Pechorin’s Magazine
I. Taman

In this part, Pechorin talked about the funny adventure that happened to him on Taman.

Arriving in this little-known place, he, by his characteristic suspicion and insight, realized that the blind boy, from whom he had stopped for the night, was hiding something from those around him. After following him, he saw that the blind man meets a beautiful girl whom Pechorin himself calls Undine. The girl and the boy were waiting for the man they called Janko. Janko soon appeared with some sacks.

The next morning Pechorin, instigated by curiosity, tried to find out from the blind man what knots his strange friend had brought. The blind boy was silent, pretending that he did not understand his guest. Pechorin met with Undina, who tried to flirt with him. Pechorin pretended to succumb to her charms.

In the evening, together with the familiar Cossack, he went on a date with the girl to the pier, ordering the Cossack to be on the alert and, if something unexpected happened, hurry to help him.

Together with Undina Pechorin got into the boat. However, their romantic journey soon ended with the fact that the girl tried to push her companion into the water. The motives of Undine’s behavior are understandable. She guessed that Pechorin understood what Janko was doing, the blind boy and she, and so he could report to the police about the smugglers. However, Pechorin managed to defeat the girl and throw her into the water. Undine at the same time was able to swim fairly well, she rushed into the water and swam to meet Yanko. He took her on board his boat, and soon they disappeared in the dark.

After returning, after such a dangerous swim, Pechorin realized that a blind boy had stolen his things from him. The adventures of the past day entertained the bored hero, but he was unpleasantly annoyed that he might have died in the waves.

In the morning the hero left Taman forever.

Part two
II. Princess Mary

Pechorin told in his journal about life in the city of Kislovodsk. The society there bored him. The hero was looking for entertainment and found them.

He met a young cadet Grushnitsky, a hot and passionate youth, in love with the beautiful princess Mary Ligovskaya. Pechorin was amused by the feeling of the young man. In the presence of Grushnitsky he began to talk about Mary as if it were not a girl, but a racehorse with advantages and disadvantages.

At first, Pechorin irritated Mary. At the same time, the hero liked to anger the young beauty: he sought first to buy an expensive carpet, which the princess wanted to buy, then expressed malicious hints at her. Pechorin argued to Grushnitsky that Mary belongs to the breed of those women who will flirt with everyone in a row, and get married for a man worthless at the will of his mother.

Meanwhile, Pechorin met in the city with Werner, a local doctor, a clever but bilious man. Around him, the most ridiculous rumors circulated in the city: someone even considered him a local Mephistopheles. Werner liked this exotic fame, and he supported it with all his might. Being a shrewd person, the doctor foresaw the future drama that could occur between Pechorin, Mary and the young cadet Grushnitsky. However, he did not specifically address this issue.

Events in the meantime went on as usual, adding new touches to the portrait of the protagonist. A secular lady and a relative of Princess Mary, Vera, arrived in Kislovodsk. Readers learned that Pechorin had once been passionately in love with this woman. She also preserved in her heart a bright feeling for Grigory Alexandrovich. Vera and Gregory met. And here we saw another Pechorin: not a cold and evil cynic, but a man of great passions, nothing that had forgotten and felt suffering and pain. After meeting with Vera, who was a married woman, could not connect with the hero in love with her, Pechorin rushed to the saddle. He rode through the mountains and dales, greatly exhausting his horse.

On exhausted horse Pechorin accidentally met with Mary and frightened her.

Soon Grushnitsky with an ardent feeling began to prove to Pechorin that after all his tricks, he would never be received in the house of the princess. Pechorin argued with his friend, proving the opposite.
Pechorin went to the ball to Princess Ligovskaya. Here he began to behave extraordinarily courteously towards Mary: he danced with her as a fine gentleman, defended him from a drunken officer, helped to cope with a faint. Mother Mary began to look at Pechorin with other eyes and invited him to her house as a close friend.

Pechorin began to visit the Ligovskys. He became interested in Mary as a woman, but the hero was still attracted by Vera. On one of the rare visits, Vera told Pechorin that she was fatally ill with tuberculosis, so she asked him to spare her reputation. Also Vera added that she always understood Grigory Alexandrovich’s soul and accepted it with all its vices.

Pechorin, nevertheless, got along with Mary. The girl confessed to him that she was bored by all the fans, including Grushnitsky. Pechorin, using his charm, from nothing to do fell in love with the princess. He even could not explain himself why he needed it: either to have some fun, or in order to annoy Grushnitsky, and, perhaps, to show to Vera that he too needed someone and, thus, called her jealousy.

Grigory succeeded in what he wants: Mary fell in love with him, but at first she hid her feelings.

Meanwhile, Vera began to worry about this novel. On a secret date she asked Pechorin never to marry Mary and promised him in return a night meeting.

Pechorin, however, began to miss the company of Mary and Vera. He was fed up with Grushnitsky with his passion and boyishness. Pechorin deliberately began to behave defiantly in public, than he caused tears from the part of Mary in love with him. To people he seemed like an immoral madman. However, the young princess Ligovskaya realized that by doing this he only more fascinated her.

Grushnitsky began to be seriously jealous. He understood that Meri’s heart was given to Pechorin. The same amused that Grushnitsky stopped greeting him and began to turn away when he appeared.

The whole city has already said that Pechorin will soon make Mary’s offer. The old princess – the mother of the girl – was waiting for him from day to day matchmakers from Grigory Alexandrovich. However, he tried not to make Mary’s proposal, but to wait for the girl herself to admit to him in love. On one of the walks Pechorin kissed the princess on the cheek, wanting to look at her reaction. The next day Mary confessed her love to Pechorin, but he responded coldly with a cold note that he did not feel a love for her.

Mary felt deeply degraded by the words of her beloved. She waited for anything, but not this. The heroine realized that Pechorin laughed at her from boredom. She compared herself to a flower that an evil passer-by broke and threw on a dusty road.

Pechorin, describing in his diary the scene of an explanation with Mary, reasoned why he acted so low. He wrote that he did not want to marry because the fortune-teller once told his mother that her son would perish from an evil wife. In his notes, the hero noticed that he values ​​his own freedom above all else, he is afraid to be noble and seem ridiculous to others. And he simply believes that he can not bring happiness to anyone.

A famous magician came to the city. The entire educated public hastened to his performance. Only Vera and Mary were missing. Pechorin, driven by a passion for Vera, went to Ligovsky’s house in the late evening, where she lived. In the window he saw the silhouette of Mary. Grushnitsky tracked down Pechorin, believing that he had a date with Mary. Despite the fact that Pechorin managed to return to his house, Grushnitsky is full of resentment and jealousy. He summoned Grigory Alexandrovich to a duel. As a second, Werner and a dragoon unfamiliar to him appeared.

Before the duel Pechorin could not calm down for a long time, he reflected on his life and understood that very few people had brought good. Fate has prepared him the role of executioner for many people. Someone he killed with his word, and someone and deed. He loved with insatiable love only himself. He was looking for someone who could understand him and forgive him everything, but no woman, no man could do it.

So he got a challenge to the duel. Perhaps his opponent will kill him. What will remain after him in this life? Nothing. Only empty memories.

The next morning Werther tried to reconcile Pechorin and his opponent. However Grushnitsky was adamant. Pechorin wanted to show generosity to his opponent, hoping for his reciprocity. But Grushnitsky was angry and offended. As a result, the duel Pechorin killed Grushnitsky. To hide the fact of the duel, the seconds and Pechorin testified that the young officer was killed by Circassians.

However, Vera realized that Grushnitsky had died in a duel. She confessed to her husband in his feelings for Pechorin. He took her out of town. Pechorin, learning about Vera’s imminent departure, mounted his horse and tried to catch up with his beloved, realizing that no one in the world was more valuable than him. He drove a horse that died before his eyes.

Returning to the city, he learned that rumors of a duel had leaked into society, so he was assigned a new duty station. He went to say goodbye to the house of Mary and her mother. The old princess offered him the hand and heart of her daughter, but Pechorin rejected her offer.

Left alone with Mary, he humiliated the pride of this girl so that it became very unpleasant.

III. Fatalist

In the final part of the novel, it is told that Pechorin was on duty in the village of Cossacks for service. Among the officers one evening there was a dispute about whether there is a fateful coincidence of circumstances in the life of a man. A person is free to choose his own life, or is his destiny pre-recorded “in heaven”?

During a heated argument, the Serbian Vulich took the floor. He stated that he was a fatalist by his convictions. Therefore, he was of the opinion that if he was not allowed to die from above tonight, death would not take him, no matter how he himself did not aspire to it.

In support of his words, Vulich offered a bet: he would shoot himself in the temple, if he is right, he will live, and if he is wrong, he will die.

None of the gathered did not want to agree to such strange and terrible conditions of betting. Pechorin only agreed.

Pechorin looked into his interlocutor’s eyes and said firmly that he would die today. Then Vulich took a pistol and shot himself in the temple. The gun was misfired. Then he made a second shot to the side. The shot was battle.

Everyone began to loudly discuss what had happened. But Pechorin insisted that Vulich would die today. No one understood his insistence. The displeased Vulich left the meeting.

Pechorin went home alleys. He saw a pig lying on the ground, cut in half with a sword. Eyewitnesses told him that one of their Cossacks, who likes to apply to the bottle, “so” chandles.
In the morning Pechorin was awakened by officers and told him that Vulich had been slaughtered by this very drunken Cossack at night. Pechorin felt uneasy, but he, too, wanted to experience fate. Together with other officers he went to catch a Cossack.

Meanwhile the Cossack, having sobered up and realizing what he had done, did not intend to surrender to the mercy of the officers. He locked himself in his hut and threatened to kill everyone who got there. At the risk of death, Pechorin was summoned to punish the ruffian. He climbed through the window into his hut, but remained alive. Cossack was tied up by officers who arrived in time.

After such an incident Pechorin was to become a fatalist. However, he did not hurry with the conclusions, believing that in life everything is not as simple as it seems from the outside.

And the kindest Maxim Maksimovich, to whom he told this story, noticed that pistols often give misfires, and that to whom it is written on the family, it will be. The elderly staff captain also did not want to become a fatalist.

This ends the novel. Reading a brief retelling of the “Hero of Our Time”, do not forget that the work itself is much more interesting than the story of its main episodes. Therefore, read this famous work of M. Yu. Lermontov and get pleasure from reading!


Lermontov’s work “The Hero of Our Time” remains relevant for readers for almost two hundred years. And this is not surprising, because the work touches upon the most important meaningful problems of human existence on earth: love, destiny of the person, fate, passion and faith in higher powers. This work will not leave anyone indifferent, that’s why it enters the treasury of classical works of Russian literature.

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Summary “The Hero of Our Time”