Special attention of Russian writers in the 50s-60s of the XIX century attracted three themes: serfdom, the emergence of a new force in public life – the heterogeneous intelligentsia and the position of women in the family and society. Among these themes was one more – the tyranny of tyranny, the tyranny of money and the Old Testament authority in the merchant community, tyranny under the yoke of which all members of merchant families, especially women, were choking. The task of denouncing economic and spiritual tyranny in the “dark realm” of the merchants was set by AN Ostrovsky in the drama “The Thunderstorm.”
The tragic conflict between Katerina’s living feelings and the dead lifestyle is the storyline of the play.
In the drama there are two groups of inhabitants of the city of Kalinova. One of them embodies the oppressive power of the “dark kingdom”. This is Wild and Ka-banikha. The other group includes Katerina,
Kuligin, Tikhon, Boris, Kudryash and Varvara. These are the victims of the “dark kingdom”, equally sensing its brute force, but differently expressing a protest against this force.
According to the nature of the warehouse and interests, Katerina stands out sharply from the environment in which she fell due to domestic circumstances. It is in the exclusivity of her character that the cause of the deep life drama that
Katerina was supposed to survive, having got into the “dark realm” of the Wild and the Kabanovs.
Katerina is a poetically dreamy nature. Lasky mother, the soul she did not want, caring for her favorite flowers, which Katerina had “many, many,” embroidering velvet, visiting the church, walking through the garden, stories of wanderers and godwithers – that’s the circle of daily activities, under the influence of which there was an internal the world of Catherine. Sometimes she plunged into some sort of dream in reality, like fairy-tale visions. Katerina talks about her childhood and girlhood, about the feelings she feels when she looks at the
beautiful nature. Katerina’s speech is imaginative, emotional. And such an impressionable and poetic woman enters the Kabanova family, into the musty atmosphere of hypocrisy and intrusive care. She finds herself in a situation from which she breathes a deathly cold and soullessness. Of course, the conflict between this “dark kingdom”
The tragedy of Katerina’s position is complicated by the fact that she was married to a man she did not know and could not love, although she tried to be Tikhon’s faithful wife in every way. Katerina’s attempts to find a tip in her husband’s heart are broken about his slavish humiliation, intimacy, rudeness. Since childhood he has become accustomed to obeying his mother in everything, he is afraid to go against her will. Without a murmur, he endures all the mockery of the Kabanikha, not daring to protest. Tikhon’s only cherished desire is to escape, at least for a while, from the care of his mother, to drink, to go on a stroll so that “for the whole year to take a walk.” This weak-willed person, himself a victim of the “dark kingdom”, certainly not only could not help Katerina, but simply understand it, and the inner world of Katerina is too complex for him, high and unavailable. Naturally, he could not foresee the drama,
Boris, nephew of Wild, also a victim of a dark, sanctimonious environment. He stands well above the “benefactors” surrounding him. The education he received in Moscow, in a commercial academy, contributed to the development of his cultural views and needs, so it is difficult for Boris to get along with the Cabans and Wild. But he lacks the character to escape from their power. He is the only one who understands Katerina, but she can not help her: he lacks the determination to fight for Katerina’s love, he advises her to submit to fate and leaves her, foreseeing that Katerina will perish. The lack of will, the inability to fight for his own happiness, doomed Tikhon and Boris to “live on earth and suffer.” And only Catherine found the strength to challenge the painful tyranny.
Dobrolyubov called Katerina “a ray of light in the dark kingdom.” The death of a young, gifted woman, passionate, strong nature for a moment, lit this sleeping “kingdom”, flashed against the background of dark, gloomy clouds.
Suicide Katerina Dobrolyubov rightly sees as a challenge not only to Kabanov and Wild, it is a challenge to the whole despotic way of life in a gloomy feudal-serf Russia.