Eugene Onegin Chapters 5 & 6

Chapters 5 & 6

I wasn’t overly enamoured of the fifth chapter of Onegin but it did have some interesting parts to it such as the bits about Russia in the winter, and Tatyana’s dream which is quite bizarre and shows the reader just how mixed up she is. It is a lot of fun to read and it can also be rather funny too.

Onegin shows himself to be a bit of cad pretty much ignoring Tatyana who loves him dearly and dancing with her sister instead right in front of her eyes, which annoys Lensky who in a fit of chivalrous pique challenges Onegin to a duel.

Chapter six is the most action packed of the chapters so far as this deals with the lead up to, the duel itself, and the aftermath of of said duel, which doesn’t end well for poor Lensky.

Onegin, from the start of this chapter, is a bit of arse, and doesn’t seem to be taking the whole duel thing seriously which enrages poor Lensky even more and, at the end of the chapter,  you feel really sorry for Lensky and think of Onegin as being a rather nasty piece of work who is not all as nice and virtuous a person as he could be.

It is also quite ironic that the author himself would later be killed in a duel himself, but that is another story.


  1. My understanding of Chapter increased exponentially after adding the chapter beginning epigram to my post and deciding to look it up. Who was this poet Zhukovsky, I asked?

    O, never know these frightful dreams,
    thou, my Svetlana!

    It gives the whole dream sequence another layer of meaning, being a reference to Svetlana and a poet Pushkin revered, however you are right in that it also slows things down, acting as quite a contrast to what will follow.

    I was wondering in my reading, when the narrator slows down and needs to take time out, whether these pauses represent the months or even years Pushkin took to finish the poem, because pace usually happens when the writer is constantly present and prolific in their daily output, whereas the slower paced lines are like stalling or getting back into the story.

    Yes, the irony of Pushkin’s own subsequent demise at a young age and the reason why, is really interesting. Lament the poet!

  2. Yes, it was certainly ironic that Pushkin’s death was so similar to Lensky’s …… both poets, both killed in a duel and both because they thought their wife/intended was being unfaithful (or at least being made to appear unfaithful).

    On my first reading I think I noticed the slightly altered pace (Claire’s explanation is great!) but on my second reading, I think I’m getting used to it.

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