Baba Yaga's Duality In Russian Folk Tales

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Folktales are a vital oral tradition in Russian culture as they are a powerful form of imaginative expression of some of the oldest beliefs and ideas of the nation. It is exceptionally common for Russian folklore to have mythological aspects, as it strongly voices Russia’s pre-Christianization beliefs such as pagan spirits. By understanding the pagan beings in the folklore, one can have a better understanding of the Russian spirit; Russian folklore is tightly intertwined with its culture. The most infamous and reoccurring mythological character in Russian folklore is Baba Yaga. She is generally a complex female antagonist with an incredibly interesting duality. Koschei the Immortal, Baba Yaga’s male counterpart, has a particularly distinct…show more content…
The Firebird is a magical glowing bird that brings hope to those who need it and doom to those who try to captor it. All three of these familiar mythological characters possess a sort of compression of the Russian essence. Baba Yaga’s character exhibits many common themes in Russian folktales, such as her association with death, she lives deep in the woods, and goes with the wind. She is an enraged hideous witch, who lives in a house deep in the woods that stands on chicken legs. She commonly appears as either a benefactor, a villain, or absolutely ambiguous; these traits play into Baba Yaga’s character duality. In a few tales, Baba Yaga plays the cooperative elderly woman by assisting those that encounter or seek her out. She has a maternal nature and an association with the forest wildlife. No tale states that Baba Yaga is the mother of the wildlife, however, it is expressed through her control and ability to summon animals to aid the hero. She even shows…show more content…
Folktales of Baba Yaga as an ogress are closely related to the malicious attitude towards maternal figures in Russian culture, whether it is due to folktales being a culturally accepted outlet for these aggressions or whether this attitude is a result of the folktale themselves. Baba Yaga is believed to be of foreign origin, so she is used as a common insult towards the Finnish. Furthermore, Koschei the Immortal is symbolically represented as a father (or father-in-law). There is an evident sexual rivalry between Koschei and the hero, as there would be with a father and son over the son’s wife in some parts of Russia. The relationship can also be interpreted as Koschei does not wish to give his daughter away, as daughters go to live with their husbands’ family after marriage according to Russian tradition. The glorious Firebird is a significant cultural and political image throughout Russia’s history. Understanding these mythological characters can give one substantial insight into the Russian

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