TOPIC 4(B) : LITERATURE ANALYSIS(PLAY) – THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR – english notes form three pdf download
THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR
By Nikolai Gogol
The Government Inspector, also known as The Inspector General
It is a satirical play by the Russian and Ukrainian dramatist and novelist Nikolai Gogol. Originally published in 1836, the play was revised for an 1842 edition.
Based upon an anecdote allegedly recounted to Gogol by Pushkin, the play is a comedy of errors, satirizing human greed, stupidity, and the extensive political corruption of Imperial Russia.
THE GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR
By Nikolai Gogol
Cast of Characters
– Anton Antonovitch – Mayor
– Artemy Filipovitch – Charity Commissioner
– A’mmos Fyodorovitch – Judge.
– Luka Lukitch – School Superintendent.
– Ivan Koosmitch – Postmaster.
– Peter Ivanovitch (Dobchinsky)
– Peter Ivanovitch (Bobchinsky)
– Stepan Ilyitch –Police Superintendent.
– Anna – Mayor’s wife
– Marya – Mayor’s daughter.
– Yosif –Hlestakov’s Servant
– Ivan Alexandrovitch Hlestakov – a junior official from Petersburg.
– The waiter
– Mishka – a servant.
– Abdulin – a merchant
A room In the Mayor’s house;
The Mayor brings the news of the Government inspector who is expected to travel incognito (secretly) from Petersburg to come and inspect their province. He reads to them a letter he received from Tchmihov warning them to take precautions about the coming of the inspector. The Judge, the Charity Commissioner and School Superintendent are all shocked at hearing this. The Mayor asks everyone in the room to make advance preparation of their places of work before the arrival of the inspector. He tells the Charity Commissioner to make things okay in the hospital. He orders the Judge to put everything in place in the courthouse including keeping away the geese. He orders the School Superintendent to manage the teachers especially the one who makes grimaces.
The Postmaster comes and the mayor asks him to unseal all the letters that pass through his post office and read them to find out if they have denunciation of the mayor. The postmaster tells him that he has always been doing so. Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky come in panting to inform them that the Government Inspector has been there for two weeks already and has done the inspection as they saw him inspecting the inn. They all panic and rush to the scene.
Scene one – the room at the Inn
Yosif –Hlestakov’s Servant is in his master’s room sprawling on his bed. He expresses his dissatisfaction with his master’s behaviour of misusing the money to the point that sometimes he sells his clothes to cover his expenses. When Hlestakov comes he tells Yosif to go downstairs and order food for him but he refuses because the landlord has said that he won’t serve him anything until he has paid the bill he has spent for three weeks. Yosif goes to call the waiter, who comes and confirms the message. After persuading, the waiter brings him soup but he criticises it for not being up to his class. The waiter insists that that is what the landlord can give him because he doesn’t pay.
The mayor comes to see him. The inspector is worried that the landlord has reported him to the Mayor but the Mayor is equally worried that may be they haven’t treated him well. The Mayor apologises for whatever has happened and admits that he takes bribes because of his low salary. The inspector having sensed the situation he grabs the opportunity and asks for a loan from the Mayor who instead of giving him the 200 roubles he asked doubles it 400 roubles to settle the bills. After that the Mayor invites him to his house but before they go he asks him to inspect some of their institutions.
Scene two – the room in the Mayor’s house
Anna and Marya are at home and Dobchinsky comes in a hurry to bring the report of the visitor who will soon visit their house. He brings a note that instructs the Mayor’s wife to prepare a room and wine for the guest. As they prepare the place Yosif brings Hlestakov’s trunk and asks for food because he is hungry. The mayor and his delegation continue to take Hlestakov through the institutions in the town. He praises the dinner they gave him. They inform him that there were only few patients in the hospital because most of them have recovered due to honesty, cleanliness and good order in the hospital.
The Mayor’s wife and daughter come and they are introduced to Hlestakov. As they sit down Hlestakov chats with Anna and says how he was once mistaken for the Commander–in-Chief. He also tells her that he is a great author and has written plays and bits for the magazines such as; “The Marriage of Figaro”, “Robert the devil”, Norma” and “Youri Miloslavsky” which is not true. He boasts about many things and exaggerates the luxurious life he lives in Petersburg. He becomes drunk of wine which he was drinking while talking. He goes to sleep.
Scene one – the room in the mayor’s house.
The mayor wakes up confused because of the presence of a distinguished guest in his house. He asks Yosif what kind of treatment his master likes and Yosif grabs the opportunity. He says that his master likes being well received and entertained. He adds “But he always sees I’m well treated!” They give him the bribe. The Mayor orders the Charity Commissioner, Judge and the School Superintendent to make sure that things are ok in their places of work.
They all plan the best way to bribe Hlestakov and they choose the Judge to be their leader in that mission. The Judge goes in to meet him. He drops the money down and Hlestakov picks it not knowing it was meant for him. The School Superintendent comes in and Hlestakov asks him to lend him 400 roubles because he was cleaned out all his money in a card game promising to refund him when he reaches home. School Superintendent gives him the money but tells him not to think of returning it.
Then the Charity Commissioner comes in and accuses his fellows to Hlestakov. He says the School Superintendent is useless because he puts evil ideas in the minds of the young. He says the Judge does nothing but coursing (hunting), and sleeping with Dobchinsky’s wife. He finishes by accusing the Postmaster for delaying mails. Hlestakov asks him to lend him 400 roubles because he was cleaned out all his money in a card game and Charity Commissioner gives him.
Dobchinsky and Bobchinsky enter and he asks them to give him 1,000 roubles but they both have 65 roubles in total. He takes it. He wonders why they treat him like somebody very important in the government. His servant Yosif suggests that it’s the right time they leave before the real man appears but he refuses.
Suddenly the shopkeepers come with petitions to accuse the Mayor of bad leadership and for forcing them to give him their best items from their shops. They give him corruption to deal with the mayor but he asks for the loan of 300 roubles instead, but they give him 500. Two women also come to accuse the Mayor. The wife of the town locksmith accuses the Mayor for arresting her husband in advance by false accusation that he has not stolen anything yet but he will steal one day.
Hlestakov starts to seduce Marya. Anna (her mother) finds him kneeling down before her apologizing and chases her away. He starts seducing the mother as well. Marya comes back he falls in love with her again. The mayor comes and refutes all the charges brought against him. Hlestakov asks for his daughter’s hand in marriage or else he will kill himself. The mayor gives them a father’s blessing. Yosif comes to report that the horse is ready and they leave promising to come back.
Scene two – The room in the Mayor’s house.
The Mayor is angry at those who brought complaints against him and promises to make it hotter for them. He gives orders to fetch them to his house immediately and calls then “Ungrateful dogs”. Meanwhile, he thinks of moving to Petersburg where he can have a higher rank such as a general. Marya asks about what will happen once she gets married but her mother tells her, she should not bother about it.
The merchants arrive and the Mayor insults them because of the charges and complaints they said against him. He calls them “You tea-swillers! You offal merchants! You good-for-nothing gutterscraping, counter-jumpers” (p.68) He says how he helped the 2nd merchant to get a government contract of supplying rotten clothes and he makes 100,000. He also showed Abdulin how to make fortune on the bridge contract by putting timbers down at 20,000 roubles and it wasn’t worth a hundred. They all apologise claiming that the devil tempted them. Finally, he forgives and warns them not to repeat.
A number of guests and well-wishers come to congratulate him for his good fortune of being the father-in-law of an important man. He tells them that he is now going to live in Petersburg where he can possibly attain the position/rank of a General and he promises them a lot of favours he can do for them.
Suddenly the Postman comes with bad news. He brings the letter which Hlestakov wrote to his friend – Tryapitchkin telling him the way the people mistook him for the Inspector-General and treated him kindly giving him money as loans. Also, the letter talks about the way he referred to them as stupid especially the Mayor whom he said “he is as stupid as an old grey mule.” (p.75) They are all taken by surprise because the Judge, Charity Commissioner and The School Superintendent all gave him 400 roubles each making a sum of 1,200 roubles while Bod and Dob gave him 65 roubles.
The Mayor blames himself for being fooled like that. Then they all blame Bob and Dob because they are the ones who brought the news that he was the Inspector General. Finally, Gendarme comes to report that “His excellency the Inspector-General appointed by Imperial decree has arrived from St. Petersburg. He is in residence at the hotel and requires your presence there immediately.” (p.80) They are all astonished as if they are thunderstruck.
INTRODUCTION/TITLE OF THE PLAY
The Government Inspector is a comedy play that was written by Nikolai Vasilyevitch Gogol in 1834. It features a junior civil servant called Hlestakov who is broke and starving but is mistaken for the dreaded Nemesis, the Inspector-General. A word has gone round that the Inspector general would be travelling incognito (secretly) from Petersburg. This makes the town officials panic and mistakenly they hear about the presence of Hlestakov in one of the inns in town and they think of him as Inspector-General and treat him so, with due respect.
So, The Government Inspector is none other than Hlestakov who earned that title by mistake and enjoyed that privilege taking advantage of the ignorance of the corrupt and ignorant town officials to exploit them. Towards the end of the play the real Inspector-General comes.
The setting of the play is in a small town in Southern Russia during the reign of Tsar, when it was written in 1834. However, there are other minor sub-settings such as;
¨ The inn, where the Mayor meets Hlestakov.
¨ The Mayor’s house where the rest of the events in the plot of the story take place.
Anton Antonovitch – the town Mayor
¨ He is corrupt. He gives and receives corruption just like all other town officials.
¨ He is a hypocrite. He admits that he goes to church on Sunday but he takes bribes.
¨ He is a power monger. He is a Mayor but always thinks of higher ranks like being appointed a General. He says to his wife “I may get a better rank now” (p.67)
¨ He is abusive and cruel. He insults those merchants who brought charges against him. He calls them “You cheap jacks! You cloth-stretchers! You tea-swillers! You offal merchants! You good-for-nothing gutterscraping, counter-jumpers” (p.68)
¨ He is hot tempered and serious. He gets angry easily and reacts angrily as he does to the merchants. (p.68)
Ivan Alexandrovitch Hlestakov
¨ He is a junior civil servant mistaken for Inspector-General. He is mistaken as the Inspector-General and is treated so while he isn’t.
¨ He is extravagant. He squanders the money he is given by his father to the point of selling his clothes to cover his expenses. Yosif reports “One time, everything went, down to our last shirt and he only had a tail-coat and an overcoat left!” (p.16)
¨ He is pompous. He boasts and brags about himself for the accomplishments he has not done. For example, he says; “My house is the best known in Petersburg. Everybody knows it, they point it out to strangers” (p.38)
¨ He is a dishonest man. He is dishonest because he uses the ignorance of the town officials who had mistaken him for the Inspector-General and uses that opportunity to exploit them.
¨ He is tricky, exploiter and corrupt. He uses the tricky to get more money from the town officials by telling them, he was cleaned out in a card game and he wants them to give him a loan, which he will pay after reaching Petersburg.
¨ He is a hypocrite. He pretends to love the wife of the Mayor, then changes his mind to her daughter. He says to Marya “It was my love for you that made me do it” (p.60) then he says to Anna “No! It is you I love! My life is hanging by a thread!” (p.61)
¨ He is scatter-brained. The words come out of his mouth quite unpredictably.
¨ He is a drunkard. He drinks wine heavily at the Mayor’s house to the point of losing his senses.
¨ He is abusive. He calls the waiter; “You fool you!”, and “You dirty pig” (p.20). He tells Yosif “That’s enough idiot” (p.17)
Artemy Filipovitch Zemlyanika
¨ He is an irresponsible Charity Commissioner. He works as a charity commissioner in the hospital but he is irresponsible. In his own words he says “We don’t bother with expensive medicines! These patients are very simple people if they die well, they die!” (p.3)
¨ He is boastful. He boasts that ever since he took control of the hospital, “the patients have got better” and he says “it’s not so much a matter of medicines, as of honesty, cleanliness and good order” (p.34)
¨ He is corrupt. Just like other town officials he takes and gives corruption. For example; he bribes Hlestakov 400 roubles not to take serious measures against him.
¨ He is dishonest and a hypocrite. The hospital has always been in a bad condition but the day they heard the government inspector is coming they cleaned the rooms and sent some patients home to avoid congestion.
¨ He is a gossiper. He accuses others to Hlestakov so as to gain favour. He says that the School Superintendent puts evil ideas into the minds of the young and that the Judge dates Dob’s wife and all his children were fathered by the Judge. (p.50)
¨ He is an irresponsible District Judge. His courthouse is dirty especially because his porter keeps the geese that make the place smelly. (p.3)
¨ He is fond of hunting. His greatest hobby is hunting (coursing). (p.7)
¨ He is corrupt as he gives and takes bribes. He admits for doing this when he says “Well there are sins and sins. I freely admit I take bribes” (p. 4). Also, he gives 400 roubles to Hlestakov as bribe.
¨ He is a great spinner of theories. He has read five or six books in his lifetime. For example, he says the Ministry is sending the inspector to find out if there is treason anywhere. (p.2)
¨ He is nervous. When he meets Hlestakov he panics to the point of dropping the money on the floor. He says “I feel as if I were on trial for my life” (p.47)
¨ He is a hypocrite. He pretends to treat Hlestakov with kindness and gives him the money just to cover up his failings in the district court.
¨ He is a School Superintendent. He is in charge of supervision of the school and all the teachers.
¨ He is corrupt. He gives 400 roubles to Hlestakov and says “Yes here it. Don’t dream of returning it Your Ex….Grad…lency!” (p.49)
¨ He is a hypocrite. Like his fellow officials he does things to cover up his failings before the inspection.
¨ He works as Postmaster. He is accused by the Charity commissioner for delaying mails. (p.50)
¨ He is a dishonest man. He opens and reads people’s letters that pass at his post office. (p.6) That’s how he found out the true identity of Hlestakov.
¨ He is corrupt. He suggests that they should bribe the inspector by telling him that “some money has been sent by post, and nobody knows who it belongs to!” (p.45)
¨ He is Hlestakov’s servant. He is a body servant, just a serf. (.43)
¨ He is intelligent than his master. He sometimes advises his master good advice although he is ignored. He discovers that the town officials have mistaken him with somebody and advises him to leave before the real man comes. (p.53)
¨ He is tricky and opportunist. When they ask him what his master likes he grabs the opportunity and says “But he always sees I’m well treated”. (p.43) as a result they give him a couple of roubles.
¨ He is confident. Sometimes he argues with his master as in page 17. Also when he tells him, they should leave immediately and the master says “perhaps tomorrow” he says “Tomorrow! Now is the time to be off! (p.53)
¨ The mayor’s wife and the mother to Marya.
¨ She is an avid reader of novels. When she talks with Hlestakov she tells her the books he has read some of which she thinks were written by him. Like “Youri Miloslavsky”
¨ She is curious. She asks many questions just for knowledge.
¨ She is an easy-going. She is almost persuaded to fall in love with the guest had it not been for the presence of her daughter and the sudden appearance of the Mayor.
¨ I’m so hungry my bell’s rumbling like a regiment of drummers! (p.15)
¨ You see my father is as stupid and obstinate as a block of wood (p.25)
¨ I went through that department like an earthquake, absolutely like an earthquake. (p.39)
¨ Everything trembled and fell like a leaf. (p.39)
¨ I’m still sweating like a bull. (p.46)
¨ It would be as suitable as a saddle on a cow. (p.72)
¨ First there’s a Mayor: he’s a generous chap, his hospitality is like a pole-axe, but he’s as stupid as an old grey mule! (p.75)
¨ The Charity Commissioner, Zemlyanika, looks exactly like a sow in a nightcap. (p.76)
¨ They came running here from the inn, babbling like lunatics! (p.79)
¨ They are only pumpkins, they wouldn’t know what that meant! (p.19)
¨ Goodbye! Angel of my heart! (p.64)
¨ But do you realise, Anna, we’ve become birds of a different feather now! (p.66)
¨ Ungrateful dogs! (the Mayor referring to the merchants)
¨ That is not impossible. (p.49) Which means that is possible.
¨ I was racked with icy shiverings! Fire and ice! (p.74)
¨ I’m so hungry I could eat the whole world! (p.16)
¨ Every minute! More messengers! Pouring along the street! You can imagine! 35,000 messengers. (p.39)
¨ But you know it is impossible to get rid of the smell in the hospital! It will take years! (p.45)
¨ And when I touched the wax, fire ran in my veins, my body fell on fire! (p.74)
¨ My head swam! I didn’t know where I was. (p.74)
¨ I’ve swindled the swindlers by thousands! Rogues and rascals, that would have stolen the whole world. (p.78)
Proverbs and sayings
¨ My heart’s in my mouth. (p.8)
¨ There is more here than meets the eye. (p.9)
¨ Now there is nothing left to us but ropes around our necks and die. (p.55)
¨ You know they say “New notes new happiness”. (p.64)
¨ Trust a pig to smell out the rich feeding! (p.72)
¨ A great ship must sail in deep waters. (p.72)
¨ Yes merit will get its rewards. (p.72)
¨ There’s an old head on young shoulders. (P.31)
¨ An empty belly makes everything heavy. (p.32)
¨ We know whose garden you’re throwing stones into (p.35)
The playwright has used several techniques in his play.
¨ Dialogue. The play is to a large part presented in a dialogue just as expected of any drama.
¨ Monologue. There are some few cases of monologue as the one recorded in page 15-16 when Yosif speaks alone in his master’s room.
¨ Aside. There is a frequent use of aside – a feature common in Russian dramas. As in page 25 “(aside) What a liar! Fairy tale after fairy tale, and all so consistent” such asides are scattered throughout the play.
¨ Point of view. The dominant point of view is first person point of view in which the characters speak from their own points of view using the pronouns “I” and “we” more frequently.
The plot is simple, straightforward and is divided in three acts. Act one is made of only one scene, and it introduces the characters, setting, the basic situation and the conflict we are about to see in this play. Act two has a further subdivision in two scenes which develop the conflict to the highest point. Act three has two scenes which not only take the conflict to the climax but also takes it to the resolution. As indicated above.
The major theme of the play is corruption and bribery. The society is extremely corrupt and they induce corruption in order to get favours from the superiors or cover up their failings. There are many cases of bribery and corruption in the play but we shall look at some of them.
¨ The town officials are corrupt. The Judge, The Mayor, The Charity Commissioner and The School Superintendent all give corruption to Hlestakov after mistaking him for the Inspector-General in order to soften his heart when he will be giving a report after the inspection of their institutions. After discovering that he is not the inspector they lament.
Judge: Good God! And I gave him 400 roubles!
CC: so did I!
SS: He got 400 out of me too! (p.77)
¨ The judge takes corruption as a district judge. He admits when he says: Well there are sins and sins. I freely admit I take bribes” (p. 4).
¨ The mayor gives bribe to Yosif. He does so because Yosif tells him that in case he does not treat him well his master will not be happy. So, to clear the air the mayor says; “here is a couple of roubles for you” (p.44)
¨ The merchants are also corrupt. They also come with sugar and wine to bribe the Inspector but they call it “our simple offerings”. He tells them “No! Don’t think of it I never take bribes!” He asks for money instead and they give him 500 roubles instead of the 300 he requested as a loan. “By all means, honoured sir! 300 roubles! Why not five?” (p.56)
The town officials are all irresponsible in their duties and responsibilities. They don’t do their works until there is an inspector coming; they try to cover up things using corruption.
¨ The mayor is irresponsible as he knows the 2nd merchant supplies rotten cloths but does not take measures. He showed Mr Abdulin “how to make a fortune on the bridge contract by putting down timbers at 20,000 roubles and it wasn’t worth a hundred” (p.69)
¨ The judge is irresponsible. His courthouse is dirty especially because his porter keeps the geese that make the place smelly. (p.3) He is not taking any measures.
¨ The Charity Commissioner is irresponsible. He works as a charity commissioner in the hospital but he is irresponsible. In his own words he says “We don’t bother with expensive medicines! These patients are very simple people if they die well, they die!” (p.3)
HYPOCRISY AND MENTAL CONTORTION.
Many people are hypocrites. The town officials are hypocrites because they clean their offices just because they have heard of the coming of the inspector. This is very common among the government officers in most countries. Civil servants usually get things ready when there is a superior visiting them but after that they return to business as usual.
¨ The officials brag about themselves for good accomplishments while in reality they have done nothing to bring about development. The Charity Commissioner boasts that ever since he took control of the hospital, “the patients have got better” and he says “it’s not so much a matter of medicines, as of honesty, cleanliness and good order” (p.34)
¨ Also, he pretends to be a friend to the Judge, School Superintendent and the Postmaster but he back-bites them and accuses them to the inspector so as to gain favour. About the School superintendent he says: “I don’t know how the authorities can employ such a man! He is worse than Jacobin. He puts evil ideas into the minds of the young” (p.49)
¨ The Mayor is a hypocrite. He admits that he goes to church on Sunday but he takes bribes.
¨ Hlestakov is a hypocrite. He pretends to love the wife of the Mayor, and then changes his mind to her daughter. He says to Marya “It was my love for you that made me do it” (p.60) then he says to Anna “No! It is you I love! My life is hanging by a thread!” (p.61)
¨ The judge is a hypocrite. He pretends to treat Hlestakov with kindness and gives him the money just to cover up his failings in the district court.
LOVE AND MARRIAGE
Love is one of the driving forces that can necessarily lead to potential marriage. In this play there are two sides of love.
¨ One is hypocritical love that is shown by Hlestakov and the Mayor’s wife. Hlestakov falls in love with the Mayor’s daughter and tells her “It was my love for you that made me do it! Just my love! Forgive me! Marya Antonovna!” (p.60) Again he falls in love with the Mayor’s wife knowing that she is married. So, in a way he was betraying his benefactor.
¨ He tells her “Madame you see I am burning with love” (p. 61). He adds “No! It is you I love! My life is hanging by the thread! If you will not requite my undying love, then I am unworthy to walk this earth! With heart aglow, I beg your hand! (p.61) This is hypocritical love; falling in love with the mother and her daughter.
¨ Another case is forced marriage. Marya is married off to Hlestakov without being asked whether or not she loves him. Her mother and father just decide on her behalf. When she asks about what will happen when she is married the mother says;
Anna: “Hush child! You shouldn’t be bothering your head with such things, your father and I will see to everything!
Marya: But it’s me he is going to marry…” (p.68)
There are two major conflicts portrayed in this society.
¨ The political conflict involving the high class represented by the leaders who have political power such as the Mayor and the lower class represented by common citizens and the merchants. These are oppressed and exploited by the high class. The 2nd Merchant accuses the mayor “But if you say a word, he’ll billet a regiment on you. He’ll shut up your business! ‘I shan’t have you flogged or tortured’, he says ‘that’s forbidden by law!” (p.56)
¨ Intrapersonal conflict within the town officials after hearing about the coming of the inspector who is coming secretly. They all panic and use bribes to cover up their failings.
There is generally bad leadership in this society. The mayor and other government officials are perfect examples of bad leaders.
¨ They are irresponsible in their duties. The mayor is a power monger just thinking of positions of higher ranks while he has not been able to accomplish his duties as a mayor.
¨ The mayor hates criticism for bad leadership so he uses threats and intimidations to command respect from the citizens. He orders the constable “well, see that nobody gets in, with a petition or without a petition. Or anybody who even looks as if he might want to bring a petition against me, throw them out head-first, you understand!” (p.41) When he is accused of bad leadership he says “Wait! My pretty dears! Dirty Jew-dogs! It will be much worse for you now!” (p.66)
¨ The leaders are corrupt and selfish. They just think of how to retain their positions and not solving the problems of the people. They use corruption if possible, to cover their failings and retain their positions.
¨ Many people expect to get favours from the Mayor in case he goes to live in Petersburg because they are friends; Korob for instance says “I shall be bringing my son to the capital next year, to enter him in the service. I hope you will do me the favour of taking him under your protection, and keeping a fatherly eye on him” (p.73)
¨ The Charity Commissioner also comments that the mayor should not forget his friends once he gains the position of a general. He says “But you mustn’t forget your old colleagues, Anton Antonovitch” (p.73)
This society portrays a picture of ignorant people – both the leaders and the common people. It is this ignorance that Hlestakov takes advantage of and exploits their money and runs away insulting them in a letter that they are very stupid. The mayor and other officials are ignorant. They are asked for loans by the man they thought of a noble status but they don’t realise. Ignorance is one of the hindrances and obstacles to development.
This refers to empty and vain boasting. Many people in this society are affected by braggadocio. The following are cases in point.
¨ The mayor brags about his accomplishments while he has done nothing for his people. He says “Ah! But I assure you, that’s nothing compared to the burdens of a mayor, nerve-racking, so many things to be kept in mind, nothing should be overlooked, cleanliness, good order…repair and maintenance.” (p.34)
¨ The charity commissioner also brags about his accomplishments but it is not true. He says that ever since he took control of the hospital, “the patients have got better” and he says “it’s not so much a matter of medicines, as of honesty, cleanliness and good order” (p.34)
¨ Mr Hlestakov brags about being a powerful author who is widely known but he has not written the books he claims to have written. He says “My house is the best known in Petersburg. Everybody knows it, they point it out to strangers” (p.38) which is not true.
Other minor themes include;
The Judge betrays Dobchinsky by sleeping with his wife and fathering children with her. The judge’s wife has also betrayed her husband. The Charity commissioner reports “…but look at the children, Your Excellency! No one of them is like Dobchinsky, but everyone, even the little girl, is the very image of the judge” (p.50)
Mr Hlestakov is extravagant as he misuses the money by playing card games and living luxury life beyond his means. He comes to the point of selling his clothes to cover his expenses.
Mr Hlestakov portrays the picture of heavy drunkards. Just like in many societies there are heavy drunkards. However, there is a fallacy that when somebody is under the influence of alcohol, he speaks the truth. The mayor says “I wish I knew how much of that stuff he told us was true! But why shouldn’t it be? When a man’s in drink it all comes out. What’s in the heart comes out through the mouth” (p.42)
The play presents several messages that we may learn from these people. Some of them are;
¨ The leaders should be responsible in executing their duties and responsibilities. They should not wait until there is an inspector coming to inspect their institutions.
¨ Ignorance is an obstacle to development. We should fight against ignorance.
¨ Betrayal in marriage is not good. It may cause unnecessary conflicts and family separation.
¨ Leaders should not use their power for private interests. They should use their positions to solve the problems of the mass.
¨ We should fight against corruption, bad leadership, hypocrisy and nepotism. These are obstacles to development.
¨ Marriage should be based on mutual love between the two parties. Parents should not force their children to marry people they don’t love.
Since 1917 the view had been put forward that the play has lost its meaning and that there is no need of satirising a class that has been swept away. However, in the play there are some patterns of behavior that are still relevant to the world today.
¨ We still have bad leadership, corruption, ignorance of the leaders and the common people.
¨ We also have irresponsibility among the government leaders who become active only when there is a superior visiting their institutions.
¨ Betrayal, drunkenness, hypocrisy and the like are all common in our societies.