Dead Souls

Manilov's and Korobochka's Similar Character Flaws

In Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls, the character flaws and business dealings of two landowners illustrate the novel's message about human values. The first two characters with which the reader becomes acquainted, Manilov and Korobochka, display disregard for the well-being of others. Manilov's lack of concern stems from a careless attitude, but Korobochka is a blatantly selfish recluse. The author symbolically portrays these traits in his descriptions of the two estates, the two landowners, and their reactions to Chichikov's proposal. This symbolism is aimed at guiding the reader to a conclusion about the importance of concerning oneself with those who surround us.

Manilov's careless stupidity is characterized in Chichikov's travels to "Manilovka." The directions that Manilov gives to Chichikov are far from being correct, which thoroughly frustrates Chichikov. In fact, as the narrator points out, "had it not been for two muzhiks they met, things would hardly have gone well for them" (19). This is symbolic of Manilov's character, and leads the reader to believe that he is extremely careless in his dealings with others. Although simple in nature, this representation of Manilov is quite...

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