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Complete Guide to the Government Inspector

Complete Guide to the Government Inspector

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Published by: IB Screwed on Nov 04, 2011
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01/07/2014

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 http://ibscrewed4english.blogspot.com/ 
The Complete IB Screwed Guide to...
The Government Inspector
By Nikolai Gogol
 
 http://ibscrewed4english.blogspot.com/ 
Background to the Author
Nikolai Gogol was born in 1809 in the Ukraine and died in 1852. After finishing high school,he tried to work as a government official in St Petersburg, but could not find work. He triedhis hand at writing, but was initially unsuccessful. However, after taking time off, he beganwriting again and was met with great success.When The Government Inspector was written, Tsar Nicholas I was inpower, an autocratic leader. He censored literature, ensuring that nosocialist or liberal ideas could be spread. He employed secret police tomonitor the people and maintain his authority. The large size of Russia,and the absence of railways, travel throughout the country was slow,causing small towns like the one in the play to be very isolated.
 
The inspiration for the play came from the writer Pushkin, who had a similar experience of mistaken identity. It reached the stage very quickly by chance. At that time, the Tsaristregime in Russia meant very strict censorship of theatre. At first, the play was rejected.However, G
ogol showed the play to one of the Tsar’s higher employees, which meant that it
got through faster. The Government Inspector was first performed in 1836, and wasimmediately successful. The Tsar himself was in the audience, and later commented
“Everyone has received his due, myself most of all.”
 Gogol said of the play:
“In The Government Inspector I resolved to gather together into one heap everything that
was bad in Russia, which I was aware of at that time, all the injustices being perpetrated inthose places and circumstances that especially cried out for justice, and tried to hold themall up to ridicule, at one fell swoop. However, as is well known, that produced a tremendouseffect. Through the laughter, which I had never before vented with such force, the reader
could feel my deep sorrow...”
 
During that time period in Russia, civil servants were divided into fourteen ranks. Khlestakovwas of the lowest, fourteenth rank. On the other hand, all the other people in the town areof higher ranks, such as 6
th
for the Mayor and 8
th
for the Judge. The social ranks were
 
 http://ibscrewed4english.blogspot.com/ 
identified based on dress, and many of the higher-ranking people spoke French. Hence,Khlestakov
s use of French at certain points in the play contributes to his deception.His life did not end pleasantly: he burnt the manuscripts of many of his works. Towards theend, he would starve himself as part of ascetic practices, eventually leading to death frommalnutrition and exhaustion.
Characters
 
Mayor (Skvoznik-Dmukhanovsky)
Gogol wrote of the Mayor:
A man grown old in the service, and in his own way extremely shrewd.Despite bribe-taking, he conducts himself with dignity; grave in demeanour, even rathersententious; speaks neither loudly nor softly, neither too much nor too little. His every word issignificant. His features are coarse and hard, someone who has worked his way up from the ranks.Rapid transitions from fear to joy, from servility to arrogance, reveal a man of crudely developedinstincts. Routinely dressed in official uniform, with braided facings, top-boots and spurs. Shortgrizzled hair.
 As the head of the town, his corruption shows that the behaviour was institutionalised andwidespread. Given that he governs a small, remote town, such actions would go unnoticedand unpunished.
Khlestakov 
Gogol wrote of Khlestakov:
A young man of about twenty-three, slim-built, almost skinny; a littlescatterbrained, with, as they way, not a great deal upstairs; one of those people in government
service referred to as ‘nitwits’. Speaks and acts without a thought. Q 
uite incapable of concentratingon any particular idea. His delivery is rather staccato, and he says the first thing that comes into hishead. The more naivety and simplicity the actor brings to this role, the more successful he will be.Dressed in the height of fashion.
Khlestakov is quick to take advantage of any situation to benefit himself. In the inn, themoment he is given some food, he complains and demands more. After the Mayor arrivesand he realises that they intend to treat him well, he takes everything they offer,exaggerating his own stories to build a better picture of himself. The prime example of this

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