The Government Inspector Analysis

Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Provincial Russia

*Provincial Russia. At the heart of Gogol’s satire is the inefficiency and corruption in Russia’s rural provinces, due in large part to the central government’s inability to maintain control from a distance. Setting the play in an unnamed rural village allows Gogol to illustrate this point by providing an intimate portrait of these two opposing forces, the central bureaucracy and its minor rural officials.

Antonovich’s house

Antonovich’s house. With the exception of act 2, the play is set entirely in one room of Anton Antonovich’s house. Gogol’s notes direct the play’s actors to “pay particular attention to the last scene. The last speech should produce upon all a sudden electric shock.” The frantic meetings held in this room, culminate in act 5 with the explosive news that the real inspector has arrived.

Inn

Inn. The second act is set in a small room in the town’s inn, where Hlestakov and his servant Osip quarrel with the proprietor, trying to get him to extend them further credit. The small, untidy room provides a catalyst for the sustained confusion of identities at the center of the plot. Hlestakov’s impoverished circumstances should indicate that he is little more than a petty con man. In his paranoia, however, Antonovich sees only a cleverly conceived disguise. The more ridiculous Hlestakov’s behavior, set against the squalor of the room, the more convinced Antonovich becomes that he is the inspector.

The Government Inspector Historical Context

Censorship
Under the reign of Tsar Nicholas I, Russian writers suffered extremely strict censorship of all written...

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The Government Inspector Literary Style

Russian Realism and Dramatic Comedy
Gogol has often been dubbed the ‘‘father of Russian realism.’’ The...

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The Government Inspector Compare and Contrast

  • 1825-1855: The reign of Tsar Nicholas I (1796-1855) as Emperor of Russia is characterized by extreme repression and...

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The Government Inspector Topics for Further Study

  • Gogol lived and wrote in Russia during the first half of the nineteenth century. Learn more about the history of Russia in the nineteenth...

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The Government Inspector Media Adaptations

The Government Inspector was adapted to the screen in a 1949 American film entitled The Inspector...

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The Government Inspector What Do I Read Next?

  • ‘‘The Nose’’ (1836) is one of Gogol's best known short stories. It concerns a man whose nose has left his face and taken up an...

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The Government Inspector Bibliography and Further Reading

Sources
Adams, Amy Singleton. Dictionary of Literary Biography Volume 198: Russian...

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The Government Inspector Bibliography (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Brown, Nigel. Notes on Nikolai Gogol’s “The Government Inspector.” Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann Educational Books, 1974. The only book devoted entirely to a discussion of The Inspector General. Provides a broad overview of previous criticism and offers detailed consideration of characters, with particular attention devoted to Khlestakov.

Fanger, Donald. The Creation of Nikolai Gogol. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1979. Considers the relationship between Gogol and his audience. Evaluates Gogol’s comic theory and his efforts at staging and self-interpretation.

Gippius, V. V....

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