The Government Inspector  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Government Inspector, also known as The Inspector General or Revizor or in German Der Revisor), is a satirical play by the Russian playwright and novelist Nikolai Gogol, published in 1836 and revised for the 1842 edition. Based upon an anecdote allegedly recounted to Gogol by Pushkin, the play is a comedy of errors, portraying human greed, stupidity, and the deep corruption of powers in Tsarist Russia.

According to D.S. Mirsky, the play "is not only supreme in character and dialogue — it is one of the few Russian plays constructed with unerring art from beginning to end. The great originality of its plan consisted in the absence of all love interest and of sympathetic characters. The latter feature was deeply resented by Gogol's enemies, and as a satire the play gained immensely from it. There is not a wrong word or intonation from beginning to end, and the comic tension is of a quality that even Gogol did not always have at his beck and call."

The dream-like scenes of the play, often mirroring each other, whirl in the endless vertigo of self-deception around the main character, Khlestakov, who personifies irresponsibility, light-mindedness, absence of measure. "He is full of meaningless movement and meaningless fermentation incarnate, on a foundation of placidly ambitious inferiority" (D.S. Mirsky). The publication of the play led to a great outcry in the reactionary press. It took the personal interference of Tsar Nicholas I to have the play staged, with Mikhail Shchepkin taking the role of the Mayor.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Government Inspector" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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