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The Captain's Daughter by Alexander Pushkin
July 8, 2009 12:11


Yemelyan Pugachev

The novel - “Captain's Daughter” by Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin is known by all Russian pupils from the school course. But it is read and loved by all ages.

It was first published in the literary journal Sovremennik in 1836. The novel is about the life and adventures of a young army officer Pyotr Grinyov during the Pugachev's Rebellion in 1773-1774. The novel came as a result of the Pushkin’s long work with the primary sources of Pugachev's Rebellion and his historical study of peasant’s rebellions.

 The novel about Pugachev's Rebellion is full of the similarities, that drew the main characters of the novel through Russian rebellion – “senseless and pitiless” as Pushkin say.

Pyotr Grinyov was the only child of a retired army officer. When Pyotr turned 17, his father sent him into military service in Orenburg. En route Pyotr met a mysterious man, who helped him, when he lost his way in a blizzard in heath. As it had turned out later, the mysterious man was Yemelyan Pugachev. As a token of his gratitude, Pyotr gave the guide his hareskin jacket.

 Pyotr began his service at Belogorsky fortress under captain Ivan Mironov and got in love with his daughter Masha. That caused a rift between Pyotr and Shvabrin (another fellow officer), they even decided to fight a duel, in which Pyotr was injured.

Not much later, the fortress was besieged by Yemelyan Pugachev, who claimed to be the emperor Peter III. The Cossacks stationed at the fortress joined the forces of Pugachev, and he took the fortress easily. So Pyotr Grinyov and Shvabrin suddenly found them up a tree – to join Pugachev's Rebellion and to betray the oath or to be killed. For another thing, Pyotr Grinyov was worried about Masha’s life; she was hidden by the peasants and could be found by rebel Cossacks.

Pyotr Grinyov refused to join Pugachev's Rebellion, but Pugachev liked his courage and saved his life. And his rival Shvabrin joined the Rebellion.

Then a lot has happened with Pyotr. He traveled with Pugachev and they became friends. Pyotr asked Pugachev to let him take his fiancée Masha to his parents from the warfare and Pugachev let him go. Then Pyotr had to fight against Pugachev's Rebellion, he was arrested for having friendly relations with Pugachev.

 During his interrogation, Shvabrin testified that Pyotr was a traitor. Not willing to drag Masha into court, Pyotr was unable to repudiate the accusation and received the death penalty. Masha found him and proved his innocence. He saw beheading of Pugachev, and married Masha.

Pushkin’s thoughts about impersonation and family traditions of Russian noblemen, about Russian bloody rebellions and Czar’s army service are expressed in the novel. It is translated into almost hundred languages and is worth reading anyway.

Ushakova Alexandra


Tags: Russian Literature Russian Classics Alexander Pushkin   

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