What is the importance of Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky in Nikolai Gogol's play The Government Inspector?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Nikolai Gogol's play The Government Inspector, Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky are two town squires, meaning attendants of the towns officials, who innocently bring disaster to their town by mistaking Ivan Aleksandrovich Khlestakov for the expected inspector from St. Petersburg.

It is Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky who first discover that Khlestakov has been staying in the inn for the past two weeks and decide the visitor's stay is important and out of the ordinary enough to inform the town officials. It is due to their announcement of Khlestakov being in town that the mayor and town officials become convinced that Khlestakov is the inspector. Feeling so guilty about their corruption, the mayor and town officials immediately set to work to change Khlestakov's perspective of their town that they don't even stop to think he may not really be the inspector.

Hence, Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky unwittingly set in motion Khlestakov's con on the town, a con that took the town for hundreds of rubles. Even Bobchinsky and Dobchinsky felt obliged to pay Khlestakov what they have, which is a total of 65 rubles.

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