This paper studies how Eastern Slavic mythology is reflected in “The Eve of Ivan Kupala”. The various motifs of Eastern Slavic mythology from end of 18th century to early 19th century appear in literature in various ways. Nikolai Gogol also reflects Eastern Slavic mythology in his works.
Myths related to Kupalo, the protagonist in Kupala Night are closely connected to the works of Nikolai Gogol, gaining a new aesthetic function to act as artistic text. Kupala is connected to Petro, Kostroma to Pidorka, and Shirin to Vasavruk. The myth of the bracken flower, which is told that it blossoms on the eve of Kupala Night, is depicted in a lively manner in the literature. In addition, the belief in the myth that snapping the bracken flower brings treasure is connected to Russian religious and political beliefs, foretelling the destruction of Petro. The treasure obtained by owning the bracken flower, or klad, has also been passed down in various ways in the Eastern Slavic mythology. Nikolai Gogol allocates different materials on klad throughout his literature, describing the process of Petro finding the treasure in a more exciting manner.
Through Pidorka’s brother Ivasi, Gogol follows the Eastern Slavic motif that only the one with a pure soul can win the treasure. In addition, as Gogol’s religious and moral perspective on gold and silver treasures was negative, Ivasi’s death was inevitable. Adding religious meaning to the names of the characters in Gogol’s work seems to be to add Russia’s religious and political view on Eastern Slavic mythology. Ivasi is connected to Ivan, Pidorka to Pedora, and Petro to Peter. Gogol selected the religious meaning and the relationship among Ivan, Peter, and Pedora as the main theme of The Eve of Ivan Kupala and gained a new literary meaning by combining the characters of Eastern Slavic mythology with various motifs.