After reading Alexander Pushkin’s poem “The Bronze Horseman,” it has become clear that the poet supported the historical path of Moscow rather than Petersburg. This idea is also based on the observation of Pushkin’s view of Moscow in his poem “Eugene Onegin.”
Pushkin’s view of Petersburg in “The Bronze Horseman” is that of a stronghold, a powerful city, which is described as a magnet for many other peoples from foreign countries. Pushkin describes the grace, pride, wealth, and majesty of Petersburg, comparing it with a young queen, whose beauty eclipses the appearance of a queen-dowager. Pushkin confesses in his love of Petersburg, listing all places and things that he loves about this “capital, my fairest.” He also addresses Petersburg directly, with wishes of eternal might and shining. All these things might be a hint that Pushkin supports Petersburg’s historical path and is absolutely positive about the city. However, the very plot of the poem, where a bronze horseman becomes a murderer of an innocent and craze young man, as well as the dramatism with which the poet describes the situation, make the reader think the opposite. In fact, Petersburg emerges as a city of poverty, horrible living conditions for the masses, and dark history (as built by the hands of numerous slaves of the tsar at a place no town could be erected because of “marshes’ cold” and “woods dark”). The tragic ending suggests that Petersburg is a city-murderer, a city which does not have a pity to the Russian people, and takes away their freedom and lives.
On the contrary, Moscow is called a queen-dowager. Although the poet says Moscow’s time on the throne is over, he still portrays it as an alternative to the rich and cold Petersburg. In Eugene Onegin,” his other famous poem, Moscow is portrayed as a “loved daughter of Russia,” to whom no equal can be found, and as a “mother” to all Russians, who is impossible not to love. Unlike Petersburg associated with death (because of Evgenii’s and his fiancee’s deaths in “The bronze Horseman”), Moscow is associated with spring (which means revival), with fertility (“a marriage-fair”), and with its importance for all citizens of the empire as the center of spiritual life. Since Pushkin often stresses the ancient roots of Moscow, it becomes clear that he sees it as a natural capital of Russia, a mother to all people in Russia. He thinks that Moscow will go on, and achieve even greater success and wealth. Therefore, the author is more positive about Moscow’s way of historical development than of Petersburg’s. .
Considering similarities and differences between the portrayal of Petersburg by Bely and Pushkin, they are clearly seen. In Pushkin’s poem, Petersburg is a real city, a capital of Russia, where the fates if two opposing worlds – of the rich and poor – coexist. In Bely’s novel, Petersburg is unreal, ghostly, and cosmic. Bely, for example, introduces mystical moments, such as, for example, Jesus Christ, walking down the city streets; there are not clear physical boundaries in physical objects, etc. The common thing is the image of a bronze horseman as a deity presiding over the city. In Pushkin’s poem, however, Peter the Great is the cause of the main character’s death, as a result of confrontation; in Bely’s novel, Peter becomes a friend to Dudkin, even calling him a son.