Gogol’s story “The Night Before Christmas”: characteristics of the main and secondary characters

Gogol's story “The Night Before Christmas”: characteristics of the main and secondary characters

The work “The Night Before Christmas” by Nikolai Gogol was created in the genre of a story and was included in his cycle “Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka”. It amazed contemporaries, including Alexander Pushkin , with the freshness of the author’s thought and ease. In total, the series included 8 stories.

The characters of the story “The Night Before Christmas”, their names, description of the characteristics of the images are in the material Attiremag  .

Brief story


On the night before Christmas, the devil is going to steal the month from the sky. Here he meets Solokha, who steals stars. Her son, the blacksmith Vakula, is in love with the beautiful Oksana, who rejects him. In despair, he plans to drown himself. But Oksana asks the piper to bring the queen’s little slippers, after which she will agree to the marriage.

Nikolay Gogol. Photo: Wikipedia

The guy saddles the devil and ends up in the capital, in the palace of the empress. She is impressed by Vakula’s story and gives him little slippers. At the farm, the blacksmith presents them to his beloved. She agrees to the marriage.

Characteristics of the main characters



An arrogant girl, the daughter of the most influential resident of the village, she knows about her beauty and attractiveness. Oksana considers Vakula, who is in love with her, unworthy of her hand and heart. But when she learns of his supposed death, she realizes that she is in love. After his return from St. Petersburg, she repents of her behavior and becomes a good wife.


The main character is a young blacksmith Vakula , in love with Oksana, Chub’s daughter, and for her sake he is ready to do anything. He suffers from the girl’s obstinate character and decides to do the impossible so that she will appreciate him. In order to bring her the empress’s slippers, he finds the devil himself and, with his help, carries out the order of the chosen one.

A still from the film adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s work. Photo: Kinopoisk


The main character is a vengeful character who is trying to do as much harm as possible to those around him over the last night. It not only spoils people’s affairs, but also affects the weather, causing a blizzard. The demon is not averse to spending time with Solokha. He is cheerful and smart, but he always loses to Vakula.

Characteristics of minor characters


The most influential Cossack of the village, Oksana’s father. The character opposes the blacksmith who wants to marry his daughter. Chub believes that the young man is too poor for his heiress. The Cossack himself loves festivities and visits Solokha, considering her inventive.


The mother of the blacksmith Vakula is a real witch who uses her charms to seduce several admirers at once. Solokha is making plans to seduce Chub, in whose house she wants to become the mistress. Everything is going well in her yard; she loves to cook and treat guests.


A village clergyman who enjoys worldly amusements. The secondary character is not averse to drinking or spending time with Solokha. In front of the farmers, Dyak wants to seem like a respectable person, but finds himself in an embarrassing situation. His mistress hides him in a bag along with other visitors. It takes him a lot of work to get out of there without losing his dignity.


A newcomer, a healer who used to be a Cossack. The hero of the story “The Night Before Christmas” settled in Dikanka and began to successfully treat his fellow villagers. The character’s medical fame spread to other localities. Patsyuk stopped visiting the sick, they come to him on their own. There are rumors in the village that the doctor is connected with the other world. He helped the blacksmith summon the devil.

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The main idea of ​​the story “The Night Before Christmas”


In the story “The Night Before Christmas,” the author addresses the theme of love, which helps to overcome difficulties and leads to the victory of light heroes over dark ones. The pre-Christmas time is full of miracles and mysticism that help lovers unite their destinies.

Why was the devil angry with Vakula?

Vakula greatly angered the devil by painting a fresco in the temple, on which he depicted evil spirits as a pitiful, thrashing creature. In the picture, the dark hero received cuffs from burning sinners in hell. The imp didn’t like this and decided to take revenge on the guy.

What did the devil steal in Gogol’s story?

In Gogol’s story, the devil decided to steal a month from the sky so that he could freely commit dark deeds. The hero of the story “The Night Before Christmas” walked around the world in search of people to whom he was going to do dirty tricks. This list also included the blacksmith Vakula, who painted a fresco of the Day of Judgment and an ugly little devil on the walls of the temple.

Why did the devil have his last night on earth?

Before Christmas, the devil realizes that he has only one night left, after which the evil spirits will have to go to the underworld.

How Vakula forces the devil to show him the way

The devil is trying to deceive Vakula and get his soul for his help. But the blacksmith turns out to be not so simple. He makes the sign of the cross, thereby rendering the demon helpless. The imp is unhappy with this, but he cannot influence Vakula in any way. The guy forces the devil to take him to the capital, which he does.

What problems does the author raise in the story “The Night Before Christmas”

The writer reveals in the work the problem of the victory of good over evil. The point is that pure intentions and love always remain above cunning and anger. The devil became the personification of negative energy in the story, but he always suffers defeat from people who believe in justice.

A still from the film adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s work. Photo: Kinopoisk

The main conflict of the story lies in the confrontation between the demon and the main character. But the blacksmith manages to subjugate the evil spirits. The devil is constantly defeated and is a laughingstock and a pitiful creature. A person gains an advantage by believing in the best.

How does the story “The Night Before Christmas” end?


The devil fulfills all Vakula’s demands, receives blows from him with a whip and runs away. Oksana agrees to marry a blacksmith, who brings her the empress’s slippers.

Interesting Facts

  • Nikolai Gogol’s work reflects the traditional plot of the Ukrainian nativity scene and the Novgorod hagiographic story “The Tale of the Journey of John of Novgorod on a Demon,” from which the scene of flying on a demon was taken.
  • In the 19th century, 3 Russian operas were created, the libretto of which was based on the story of Nikolai Vasilyevich. This is the work of Pyotr Tchaikovsky “Cherevichki”, the work of the same name by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and the opera “Christmas Night” by Nikolai Lysenko.
  • The famous Soviet fairy tale featuring the heroes of “Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka” was created in 1961 by Alexander Row .
  • To describe the characters in the story “The Night Before Christmas,” Gogol used information received from relatives, ethnographic and linguistic articles, and even treatises on witchcraft.

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