Table of contents:
- Ostap Bender, the hero of the novel by Ilf and Petrov, could well become the commander-in-chief of a whole army of charming deceivers, because even after many years he evokes not contemptuous hatred, but quite benevolent sympathy, at least from the Russian reader. Why it happens?
- Maybe I can give you the key to the apartment …
- You won't jail everyone
Video: Ostap Bender And His Heirs - Crazy Characters
Ostap Bender, the hero of the novel by Ilf and Petrov, could well become the commander-in-chief of a whole army of charming deceivers, because even after many years he evokes not contemptuous hatred, but quite benevolent sympathy, at least from the Russian reader. Why it happens?
Maybe I can give you the key to the apartment …
We rejoice when someone from the endless cohort of modern swindlers (now they are called "corrupt officials") is arrested. But when we meet Ostap Bender, smiling and offering "almost free" some services, on the street or on the threshold of the apartment, we involuntarily stretch out our hand. We are glad to be deceived.
The fact is that the romantic image of the "great combinator" in a number of cases may well be identified with one's own "I". Ostap-Suleiman-Berta-Maria Bender-Bey did not encroach on the existing "Soviet reality", he simply did not notice it and, whenever possible - when elegantly, when not very much - ignored it. Noticing, however, that he is "bored with building socialism." It must be admitted that this remark is brilliant in its historical significance, considering that it was made 10 years after the revolution.
Appearing on the pages of the novel from somewhere "from the north-west, from the side of the village of Chmarovka," Ostap immediately wins the favor of readers with a witty answer to a beggar: "Maybe I should give you another key to the apartment where the money is?" Who would have thought then that this phrase, like many of his other statements, would remain in our vocabulary for a hundred years?
The charm of Ostap Bender is also caused by the fact that all the other heroes of the story are much worse than him and do not evoke any sympathy. There are also objective reasons for the charm of this sharper: he is smart, resourceful, not devoid of nobility, and even prone to daydreaming. Ostap does not kill anyone, does not rebel, he just wants to live well and richly. A desire that is quite compatible with the desires of our time.
You won't jail everyone
The image of the "great schemer" looks very modern, but in the days of the young Council of Deputies, this character caused a lot of criticism from the officialdom. Nevertheless, a huge number of readers fell in love with Ostap Bender (it is difficult to find another word). And after his tragic death in the first novel, readers demanded to revive him and continue the description of the adventures. (Something similar happened in the case of another literary hero, Sherlock Holmes.)
The desire of the readers is the law for the authors. A sequel was written called The Golden Calf, which was published in 1931, first in a magazine version. Translations and publications abroad followed, and in 1933 the novel was finally published in the USSR as a separate book. "Where is the 'mad character' promised under the rubric? - the indignant reader will exclaim.
And he will be right. There is no "crazy character"! But there is a multimillion-strong society of Soviet people, spellbound by the endless possibilities of the "bright future" that they are waiting for at the present time. The "great combinator" used their "social madness" quite shamelessly. Many even today yearn for "everything at once", as little has changed morally in recent years.
Unlike the heroes of Ilya Ilf and Yevgeny Petrov, modern "ostap benders" have multiplied in such incredible numbers that now the arrest and trial of a dozen or two "great combiners" of our time does not make anyone want to shout: "Free the hero!"
Fake one-day firms like "Horns and Hooves" convince us that this know-how is not at all part of our time. Only the scale of modern traders is already measured in billions of rubles. “Combinators” are tried, imprisoned, but the wave of socio-cultural debility has already covered such a number of corrupt officials that they could have shouted with a proudly raised head: “You won't jail everyone!” (Recall that the translation from the Latin word "corruptio" means "corruption".)
However, let's be objective. Some psychopathological traits are certainly present in the personality of Ostap Bender. Otherwise, he would hardly have remained such a memorable character in public memory
This fact is confirmed not only by repetitive editions of novels (they were banned from 1949 to 1956), but also films and numerous monuments to the “great combinator” installed in various Russian (and not only) cities. Is this not evidence of the "deep" people's love for all kinds of rogues?
Ostap Bender has: a virtuoso, almost pathological ability to lie; an infantile desire to get everything at once, without engaging in systematic work; a penchant for adventurism.
These characteristics of a sociopath are classified as "dissocial personality disorder" by the classification of mental illness
- Ilf E. A., Petrov E. P. Twelve chairs // Collected works in 5 volumes. M.: GIHL, 1961. T. 1. S. 27–382.
- Ilf E. A., Petrov E. P. The Golden Calf // Collected Works in 5 volumes. M.: GIHL, 1961. T. 2. S. 9–386.