M. Starytsky is widely famous for his historical dramas “Bogdan Khmelnytsky”, “Marusya Boguslavka”, “Defense of Busha”, “Last Night”, as well as “Taras Bulba” and “Yurko Dovbysh”. These works comprise the events of Ukrainian history during the national Liberation War of the Ukrainians under the leadership of B. Khmelnytsky (“Bogdan Khmelnytsky”, “Defense of Busha”); more broadly – the Cossack era (“Marusya Boguslavka”, “Taras Bulba”, “Last Night”, the events of which unfold in 1702 and relate to the Cossack era, but it explores the inner world of the hero) and the insurgent movement of ‘opryshki,’ the Carpathian ‘noble robbers’ (“Yurko Dovbysh”). The main idea of M. Starytsky’s historical dramas is the service to Ukraine, self-sacrifice to Ukraine and the inadmissibility of any concessions to the enemy. In the drama “Last Night” this idea reaches its highest expression: Stepan Bratkovsky is not even able to betray Ukraine in words to deceive the enemy in order to gain freedom. Realizing that by his freedom gotten by dishonor or deception he would serve the enemy, but by being executed he, on the contrary, would serve to enlighten the people, he decides to go to die. M. Starytsky says that it is impossible to gain freedom without shedding blood. Freedom is gained in a struggle, often bloody and hard. The scenes of an “exciting nature” in the drama “Bohdan Khmelnytsky” were used by the censorship for banning the work from publication and staging. However, a powerful inspired patriotic message characterizes both this and other historical dramas. M. Starytsky speaks of the necessity and value of life “not for his own pleasure, but for the sake of peace,” for the sake of his people and Ukraine. M. Starytsky’s historical dramas are correlated with the principles of romanticism, in particular, with powerful historical characters. The image of Bohdan Khmelnytsky is difficult and full of contradictions and dynamics (from the liberator of the Fatherland – to the internally broken person). A notable feature of M. Starytsky’s historical dramas is the presence of strong female characters: Mariana Sotnikovna (“Defense of Busha”), Marusya Boguslavka (the work of the same name), Hanna (“Bogdan Khmelnytsky”).
Keywords: historical drama, M. Starytsky, image, ideological orientation, romanticism, Ukrainian history, theater.