The Government Inspector Background

The Government Inspector Background

The idea to write a comedy The Government Inspector, which is based on a purely Russian anecdote, appeared in Gogol’s mind during his work on Dead souls.

Obviously, the work on Dead souls influenced the style, which Gogol started to develop a comedy’s plot. In the “Author’s Confession” he wrote: “In The Government Inspector I made up my mind to gather into a pile all evils in Russia, which I’ve known at that time, all unfairness, which are done in such places and situations, where the people’s fairness is required. And I’ve done it to have some fun of everything”.

Gogol spent only two month to achieve his creative concept. It was from October to November of 1835. But the work on the comedy continued. The essential changes in the text of the comedy were introduced in 1836, in the period of an adaptation of The Government Inspector on the Alexandrinsky Theater’s stage in St. Petersburg. The first night took place on the 19th of April, 1836. The Emperor Nicholas I, himself, was present at the performance. Gogol was despondent by what he saw: the comedy’s idea was understood neither by actors nor by audience. Nothing was taken from the deep sense, which was inserted into the play. The comedy was taken for a simple vaudeville.

The final version of the comedy was in 1842. The Government Inspector, which has been already put on the stage and published, caused the numerous and contradictory comments. Summing up everything negative that was expressed in the comedy’s address, the publisher of the magazine “Moscow telegraph”, Polevoy, wrote in 1842 in “The Russian Herald”: The Government Inspector is farce, which is liked with the absence of drama, introduction, dénouement and definite characters. The language is wrong, the faces are ugly grotesques, the characters are the Chinese shades and the event is unrealizable and absurd…”

Belinsky priced the Gogol’s comedy: “There are no the best and the worst scenes, but all of them are first-rate, as the necessary parts, which create artistically comprehensive whole in The Government Inspector.

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