In 1835 Gogol began writing the comedy "The Government Inspector". In early 1936, the play was premiered in Moscow and St. Petersburg. But Gogol continued to make adjustments in the text of the work until 1842, when the final version was completed.
"The Government Inspector" is a quite innovative play. Gogol for the first time created a social comedy with no love line. Courtship of the Inspector for Anna Andreevna and Maria Antonovna is rather a parody of high feelings. There is also no positive character in the comedy. When a writer was accused of this, he replied that the main positive hero of "The Government Inspector" is laughter.
Unusual is the composition, because there is no traditional display. From the first sentence the mayor begins the plot exposition. Final dumb scene surprised many theater critics. Earlier no one used this technique in drama.
Classical confusion with the main character has in Gogol's play a completely different meaning. Khlestakov was not going to pretend to be the inspector; he himself could not understand what was happening for some time. Just a thought: the county authorities crouch with him just because he is from the capital and fashionably dressed. Khlestakov does not want to deceive anyone, the officials deceived themselves and draw an imaginary inspector in this action.
Comedy plot is built around a closed principle: the play begins with the news of the arrival of the Government Inspector and ends with the same message. Gogol’s innovation manifested in the fact that there are no minor comedy storylines. All the characters are tied in the same dynamic conflict.
The apparent novelty was the protagonist himself. For the first time it was a stupid, empty and worthless person. The character of the hero is fully displayed in the lies scenes. Khlestakov is so much inspired by his own imagination, he could not stop. He piles one absurdity after another, even no doubting the "truthfulness" of his lies. A player, a spendthrift, and splurge, "hollow person" - this is the main character of the play.
In the play Gogol raised essences of Russian life: government, medicine, court, education, post office, police, merchants. Writer lifts and ridicules in "The Government Inspector" a lot of unsightly features of modern life. Here, across-bribery and neglect of duty, embezzlement and servility, ambition and passion for gossip, envy and squealing, boast and stupidity, petty vindictiveness. "The Government Inspector" is a real mirror of the Russian society.
Unusual for a play and the power of the story is its mainspring - fear. In the XIX century in Russia audit was conducted by high-ranking officials. Therefore, the arrival of "inspector" rose in the county town such a panic. Important person from the capital, and even with a "secret order" led local officials in horror. Khlestakov, who does not resemble an inspector at all, is easily mistaken for an important person. Anyone driving through the town from Petersburg rises suspicious. And this one is living here for two weeks and does not pay - that is, in the opinion of ordinary people, how a high-ranking person would behave.
In the first act "sins" of all those present are discussed, and the orders for the "cosmetic" measures are given. It becomes clear that none of the officials considers himself guilty and is not going to change anything. Only for some time clean caps will be given to sick and the streets will be swept.
In the comedy, Gogol created a collective image of the bureaucracy. Civil servants of all ranks are perceived as a single body, as they are close in their pursuit of money-grubbing, are assured of impunity, and the correctness of their actions. But each character leads his own game.
The most important person here is the governor Anton Antonovich Skvoznik-Dmukhanovsky. He has been at service for thirty years. As a man of grip, he does not miss the benefits that is sailing in his hands. But the complete disorder rules in the town. Streets are dirty, sick prisoners are disgustingly fed, the police is always drunk. The governor celebrates twice a year his birthday to get more gifts. The money given for the construction of the church had disappeared.
The appearance of the inspector scares Anton Antonovich very much. What if the inspection does not take bribes? Seeing that Khlestakov likes money the governor calms down trying to please the important face by all means. The second time Skvoznik-Dmukhanovsky is frightened when Khlestakov is showing off his high position. Then he is afraid to get out of favor. How much money to give?
Starting to write "The Government Inspector" Gogol promised: "I swear it will be funnier than hell." His promise he kept. Nicholas I, having watched the comedy, said: "Everyone has got his. And most of all me”.