Eugene Onegin (Pushkin)

From Translated Summaries
Disclaimer: This summary is automatically translated from Russian. It can contain silly mistakes.

Very Short Summary

Eugene Onegin inherited a rich estate from his uncle, settled there, and met the poet living next door.

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Eugene Onegin Wikidata.svg β€” A nobleman, semi-educated dandy, bored, always superficial and indifferent about everything; at the beginning of the novel he is a young rake of 18, at the time of the duel he is 26..

He was in love with a girl from a neighboring estate and was going to marry her.

The poet introduced Onegin to his bride, her parents, and her older sister, a very romantic girl. She fell in love with Onegin and confessed her love for him in a letter. Onegin rejected the girl's love and humiliated her by telling her off and saying that it was indecent to speak openly about his feelings.

Some time later, the poet brought Onegin to the girl's name-day party, assuring him that only his own people would be there. Many guests gathered at the feast. Onegin did not like the noisy company and the sad appearance of the girl, he became angry with the poet, decided to take revenge on him and began to flirt with his bride.

Insulted, the poet challenged Onegin to a duel and died. Killing his friend, Onegin left the estate forever. The girl in love with him was taken to Moscow and persuaded to marry a rich general.

Two years later Onegin met the girl - she became a brilliant society lady. He fell in love with her, wished to meet her and wrote her a letter confessing his love. The girl had not yet forgotten Onegin, but rejected his feelings and remained faithful to her husband.

A detailed retelling by chapters

"The titles of the chapters are conventional.

Chapter 1: Meet Onegin

Eugene Onegin was born in St. Petersburg, "on the banks of the Neva." Having received a superficial home education given to him by a French governess, Onegin, like all the nobles of his time, was excellent in French, knew a little Latin, danced gracefully and, according to the world, was "clever and very nice."

We all learned a little
For something or other,
β™ͺ So educated, thank goodness. β™ͺ
We've all learned a thing or two.

Onegin's life was full of all kinds of entertainment and love affairs. He got up late, travelled by invitation, visited theaters, balls and restaurants.

Onegin "was a pedant in his clothes," was zealous about his appearance and spent much time in front of the mirror. His luxurious study was full of various combs, files, scissors, brushes and perfumes.

The noisy life in the capital had bored Onegin and he became bored with "Russian melancholy. He continued to go out into the world, but nothing occupied him: neither gossip, nor card games, nor flirting - Onegin was sullen and languid as Childe Harold.

Trying to get rid of his moping, Onegin tried writing poetry and reading books, but even that did not help. At that time the narrator met him.

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Narrator β€” Eugene Onegin's acquaintance, in whom Pushkin himself can be guessed.

The Narrator became friends with Onegin, they even wanted to "see foreign lands," but Onegin's father passed away, and the friends' fates diverged.

Not wanting to fight with his father's creditors, Onegin gave them all his inheritance. He did not see this as a great loss to himself. It was at this time that his uncle became seriously ill. By the time Onegin came to the estate, his uncle had already died - Onegin received a rich inheritance and settled in the village.


Chapter 2. Onegin and Lensky's friendship

The monotony of country life soon bores Onegin. He had no desire to communicate with his neighbors, who in turn considered him a madman. At this time he meets Vladimir Lensky.

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Vladimir Lenski Wikidata.svg β€” Onegin's neighbor, a poet, handsome, with shoulder-length black curls, romantic and naive dreamer, distant from real life; at the time he met Onegin he was 18.

Lensky returned from Germany, where he became an admirer of philosophy Kant and became interested in poetry. He, like Onegin, shunned "noisy conversation." Despite the difference in both age and opinion, the neighbors became friends: "friends from doing nothing".

Lensky told Onegin about his love for Olga Larina, whom he had known since early childhood, and who was to become his bride.

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Olga Larina Wikidata.svg β€” Young girl, slender, blue-eyed and fair-haired, round-faced, sweet, modest, docile, simple-minded, cheerful, coquettish.

The Larin family belonged to the provincial nobility. The mother of the family was given in marriage without her consent and at first suffered from it. But having discovered "the secret of how to rule her husband autocratically," she became the true mistress of her estate. Her husband loved her and trusted her in everything. Life in the house was peaceful and the neighbors sometimes came over in the evenings. So they raised their daughters, Olga and Tatiana, grew old, and the father of the family died.

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Tatiana Larina Wikidata.svg β€” Olga's sister, a year older, when she meets Onegin she is sad, silent, thoughtful and romantic, loves novels, believes in omens, dreams of love; at the end of the novel she is a calm, serious lady.

Tatiana grew up a withdrawn child, could not caress "her father or her mother," did not like to play, and often "sat in silence at the window."


Chapter 3. Onegin meets Tatiana, and she falls in love with him

Lensky brings Onegin to the Larin estate. There Onegin met Tatiana and soon became her fiancΓ© in the eyes of his neighbors. They had long thought of Lensky as Olga's husband.

Listening to the neighbors' gossip, Tatiana secretly thought of Onegin and fell in love. She tormented herself for a long time, was sad, read novels, talked to her nurse about love, and finally in early summer she decided to open her feelings to him in a letter.

...to no one in the world
I would not give my heart!
It is in the highest council...
That is heaven's will: I am yours;
My whole life was a pledge
Of a faithful date with thee;
I know thou hast sent me by God,
Till the grave thou art my keeper...

For several days Tatiana languished waiting for an answer.


Chapter 4. Onegin rejects Tatiana and humiliates her

Soon there was a meeting between Onegin and Tatiana. Onegin told her that if he decided to have a family, he would not find a bride better than her. But marriage was not for him, and he could not make Tatiana happy. Onegin showed "direct nobility of soul" and honestly confessed his brotherly, but no more, feelings for Tatiana, he did not want to deceive "the trustfulness of the innocent soul." Then Onegin advised her to keep her feelings to herself, otherwise "inexperience leads to trouble."

Tatiana was depressed, sad and fading, but still hoped for reciprocity. Onegin, on the other hand, having suppressed the excitement produced by Tatiana's letter, led an idle life; boredom possessed him more and more.

Meanwhile, Lensky was falling more and more deeply in love with Olga and believed that he too was in love. At last the day of their wedding was fixed.

One evening at Onegin's dinner, Lensky told him that they were invited to Tatiana's name-day party. Onegin agreed to come.


Chapter 5. Tatiana's dream, her name day

Winter has come. Tatiana wanted to "wrap up at night" on Christmas Eve, but at the last moment she was frightened and changed her mind. That night she had a terrible dream. In it Tatiana wanted to cross a bubbling brook. Suddenly a bear appeared in front of Tatiana, helped her across, and then began to chase her. Tatiana ran from him for a long time and fell into the snow from fatigue. The animal picked her up, brought her to the forest hut, and disappeared. Tatiana went into the hovel and through a crack peeked into the room. There were creepy monsters sitting around the table, and among them - Onegin, whom the monsters obeyed unconditionally.

Tatiana slightly opened the door, the monsters saw the girl and rushed to her, but Onegin said: "Mine," and the monsters disappeared. Onegin dragged Tatiana to a bench. At that moment Olga and Lensky entered the hut. Onegin began to scold the uninvited guests and, in the heat of a quarrel, stabbed his friend with a knife. The walls of the hut staggered, a scream was heard and Tatiana awoke. She had long been disturbed by the terrible dream, but she could not unravel it from the books.

And then the day of Tatiana's name-day came, and the house was full of guests: young and old, fat and skinny, gossipers, gluttons, bribe-takers, and county dandies. Soon Lensky and Onegin also appeared and were seated at the table opposite Tatiana, who grew pale and nervous and almost fainted. But "the will and reason prevailed," and Tatiana "sat up at the table." Onegin could not tolerate women's excessive sensitivity and was annoyed by the noisy gathering and decided to take revenge on Lensky. Dinner was replaced by a ball. Onegin spent the entire evening wooing Olga. Lensky "in a jealous indignation" left and decided to challenge Onegin to a duel.


Chapter 6. Onegin kills Lensky in a duel

Onegin in his heart reproached himself for his act, although outwardly he was calm.

The day before the duel, Lensky visited Olga and saw by her behavior that the girl had not taken Onegin's advances seriously and still loved him. Lensky regretted that he had started this duel, but it was too late to refuse, since he had taken the local gossip and duelist as his seconds.

Onegin also did not want this duel, but he was disturbed by "the whispers and laughter of fools.

On the eve of the duel Onegin slept a "dead sleep" and arrived later than scheduled. The duel took place. Lensky is killed by Onegin.

He lay immovable, and strange.
The languid peace of his brow.
"Under his breast he was wounded through and through;
"He was wounded in the breast, smouldering with blood.

Onegin left these parts forever.


Chapter 7. Tatiana leaves for Moscow and becomes the prince's wife

Spring has come. Having been briefly sad, Olga marries a brave soldier and leaves home.

Left without her sister and her friend, Tatiana could not stop thinking about Onegin. One day she visited his estate and visits it often. Examining his study, books, statuettes and portraits, Tatiana finally understood what Onegin was like.

What is he? Is he an imitation?
An insignificant ghost, or else
A Muscovite in Harold's cloak,
A fancy man in Harold's cloak,
and a vocabulary full of fashionable words...?
Is he not a parody?

Tatiana was approached by many suitors from her neighbors, but she refused them all. Her disturbed mother took her neighbor's advice and in winter took Tatiana to Moscow "to the fairgrounds of brides". Every day she was taken "to kinship dinners." Peers at first found Tatiana "strange, provincial and simpering," but soon accepted her, shared their experiences, triumphs, dreams, and wanted frankness from her. However, Tatiana did not reveal her soul to them. She immediately realized that indifference, boredom, slander, envy, gossip, and malice reigned in the world.

At one of the pompous balls Tatiana was noticed by an "important general."


Chapter 8: Onegin falls in love with Princess Tatiana, but she refuses him

More than two years have passed. Onegin returns to the capital from his travels, still "speechless and vague" and enveloped either in boredom or conceit. At one of the balls he met Tatiana, who turned out to be the wife of a prince, his relative and friend. There was nothing of the simple girl whom Onegin had once read a moral admonition. Tatiana "was unhurried, not cold, not talkative, without a cheeky gaze," society admired her, but she thought this "splendor" tinsel. Onegin fell in love.

Tatiana behaved with him just as she did with others. Onegin never took his eyes off her, did not miss a single opportunity to meet her, suffered and died. Finally he wrote her a "passionate letter," in which he apologized for his past coldness and tried to awaken his former feelings in Tatiana.

I know: my age is already measured;
But to prolong my life,
I must be sure in the morning,
That I shall see you in the daytime...

Tatiana did not answer his letters, and on meeting him she was stern and "surrounded by the Kreshchensk cold." Onegin "denied the light again," read books and dreamed of Tatiana.

In the spring, Onegin perked up and went to see the princess. He caught her weeping as he read his letter. It turned out that Tatiana still loved him, but she was married and would be "forever... faithful" to her husband.


The retelling is based on edition of the novel edited by B. V. Tomashevsky (L.: Nauka, 1978).