Thoughts on Queen of Spades

            Pushkin’s Queen of Spades is undoubtedly one of my favorite pieces I’ve read in my World Literature class. It is as intriguing as Lu Xun’s Diary of a Madman, which came as a surprise to me considering just how entertaining Lu Xun’s piece was. The story was unique and the characters were dynamic.

            I immediately connected with both Hermann and Lisaveta, though in very different ways. I didn’t care for Hermann. He seemed to have an obsessive nature which ranged from gambling and money to Lisaveta herself, though the reason in the beginning was unclear. Though he was a dark character, I found myself wanting to know how his story played out (no pun intended). I like how Pushkin gave very little background on Hermann, with the exception being the mention of his being the Countess’s illegitimate son.

            The Countess was a character that in the beginning I despised. I thought she was a cruel old woman in her treatment of her servants. I pitied Lisaveta for having to serve such a woman. Yet, as the story continued, my hatred for the Countess began to dissolve and I found her humorous. I laughed when she “winked” at Hermann, as if she were able to see right through him even in death. I also eventually realized that despite her mistreatment of Lisaveta, she loved her in a way.

            Lisaveta was a character that I loved but wasn’t completely able to relate to. I found Hermann incredibly creepy and immediately labeled him a stalker, while Lisaveta seemed to have some hope at first that he would be her escape from her current lifestyle. Lisaveta’s ultimate goal seemed to be freedom despite the fact she also seemed scared of the idea. I suspect that in that setting, a woman’s only way out of a peasant’s lifestyle was to marry a wealthier man. I was pleased to read in the conclusion that she did marry “an agreeable young man” and was presumably living a better life.

            Hermann’s fate was not surprising. It was good, old-fashioned karma that led him to insanity. It was sad to some extent, but greed overcame him and thus was not unexpected.

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