The Government Inspector

By nikolai gogol, the government inspector essay questions.

Are there any real heroes or villains in the text? If so, who are they? If not, why not?

Most critics agree that there are no real heroes or villains in the text. Khlestakov is a charlatan and a fake, prone to selfishness and debauchery. However, while he enjoys laughing at the expense of the townspeople, he certainly isn't evil. The civil servants are inept, self-interested, and corrupt, but they have recognizable foibles. Critic Milton Ehre sums this up: "Neither virtuous nor evil, the characters of Gogol's comic works...are merely ridiculous. They reside in a halfway house between redemption and damnation—a comic purgatory." This element of the play helps to make the characters realistic in such a way that audience members may feel compelled to see aspects of themselves reflected onstage, prompting self-reflection upon the play's silent conclusion.

How does the play depict the performative nature of Khlestakov and the Mayor? What is the effect of this performative nature on the broader ecosystem of the story?

One of the fascinating layers of the play is that the main characters of Khlestakov and the Mayor are inclined toward performance, even as they are already being portrayed by literal actors for the sake of an audience. The two of them, as well as the minor characters, are part of an illusion. Ehre calls the conversations between Khlestakov and the Mayor duets of a sort, "ballet-like dances of pretense." All of Khlestakov's words are performative, and they are taken as such. The comic routines "are built on this principle: the mayor putting on a show while taking Khlestakov's pedestrian responses for merely another show." An example of this is when the Mayor is bragging of how well he treats his people, as opposed to other mayors, and Khlestakov responds that he is glad for the good treatment because he does not know how he'd pay his bill. The Mayor thinks to himself that this is an act because, of course, he'd be able to pay. Overall, "the characters of the play rush after an illusion—the false inspector—and when they catch up with him, they metamorphose into illusory characters, masked selves performing stylized rituals of impersonation."

What is the core message of this play? Is it comedic? Why or why not?

Though this is certainly a comedy and the audience will have a delightful time laughing at the mistaken identity, ridiculous behavior, and amusing comeuppance of the bureaucrats, Gogol did not approach his topic lightly. The play invites the audience to take a deeper, serious look at themselves. Are they guilty of selfishness, shortsightedness, or greed? Have they just been coasting on luck to get by? Are they too consumed with money, status, power, or reputation? Are they ignoring what is really in front of them? As a religious man, Gogol may have wanted his audience to take stock of themselves in order to prepare themselves for the final religious Judgment.

What is the narrative function of the mute scene at the end of the play?

The final, minute-and-a-half mute scene ensures that the audience will most certainly feel uncomfortable—but that discomfort is intended to provoke them to some inward reflection. It is a pictorial tableau, a veritable painting, and, in its visuality, it imparts the message that the characters onstage are simply versions of ourselves that we must analyze in order to reform our bad behavior.

What are the different characteristics of bureaucrats that Gogol satirizes?

Gogol puts a panoply of negative characteristics on display, and all of them are easily recognizable in the people we know (meaning, his characters are not murderers or rapists; they are relatable in their foibles). The Mayor is concerned with his reputation and power, and he doesn't mind taken advantage of the shopkeepers to increase his standard of living. His wife is greedy for riches and to move about the fashionable set, is rude to her daughter, and seems obsessed with her own perceived charms. The Judge neglects his job in favor of hunting. The Warden of Charities and Doctor do not care for their patients, simply concluding that they only need minimal treatment and will get better on their own. The constables are drunken and disorderly. The Postmaster invades people's privacy. All in all, this is a banal and sordid bunch of bureaucrats that Gogol's audience would find all too recognizable.

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The Government Inspector Questions and Answers

The Question and Answer section for The Government Inspector is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.

Not a soul in sight, just as if to annoy me." Comment

This quote is spoken by the mayor's wife in reaction to her daughter's tardiness and their late arrival at her husband's office. From the text, we can infer that her whims are regularly met, and that in their tardiness, she continues to expect...

In whose regime was the government inspector written

Nicholas the Ist, Emperor of Russia.

How did Nikolai Gogol use the government inspector to bring solutions to social issues and create a change

The corruption demonstrated by all the characters is on a level far below any grand sort of evil. There are not truly evil bureaucrats pulling the strings of darkness, Gogol suggests, but rather an enormous collective exhibition of inexhaustible...

Study Guide for The Government Inspector

The Government Inspector study guide contains a biography of Nikolai Gogol, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

  • About The Government Inspector
  • The Government Inspector Summary
  • Character List

Wikipedia Entries for The Government Inspector

  • Introduction
  • Plot summary
  • Meyerhold's interpretation
  • Other adaptations

government inspector essay questions

government inspector essay questions

  • study guides
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The Government Inspector by Nikolai Gogol

The Government Inspector Essay Topics & Writing Assignments

Buy and print The Government Inspector Lesson Plans

Pick two characters from the play and discuss their goals and motives. Do they achieve their motive? Do they share similar goals and motives with other characters? Do their goals clash with other characters? How do the characters goals and motives affect their interaction with each other?

Discuss elements of the narrative structure: Exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical and linear story? How does the story's structure express the play's themes?

Discuss elements of the narrative structure: Exposition, conflict, complication, climax, resolution and conclusion. Do all the elements make for a logical...

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IGCSE Government Inspector

  • Course level: English Literature
  • Categories IGCSE


Written by Nikolai Gogol, Government Inspector is a set text for IGCSE 0475 English Literature exams, scheduled for 2021.

Originally performed in 1836, this play revolves around corruption of officials in an obscure provincial town in a Russian state. This farcical drama spans across 5 acts, in which a well-dressed windbag named Ivan Khlestakov has been mistaken for a government inspector and bribed by village officials to keep mum about their maladministration. Their celebration of success comes to a halt by a significant revelation by the end of the play.

Join this course to partake in the study and analysis of this classic play, which exemplifies itself as a comedy of manners, and explore the various themes and devices used in the play.

Paper Marking

We also offer paper marking services for this course. Having your practice papers marked will help give you a clear idea of where and how to improve. Please click here to know more.

What Will I Learn?

  • Learn to make effective notes and mind maps
  • Understand devices, themes, and style used in the play
  • Learn how the writer brings effect through language and style
  • Mastery of core curriculum topics
  • Unique question-specific strategies
  • Exam techniques practiced through extensive question practice and personalised feedback
  • An applied understanding and appreciation of the subject beyond the syllabus
  • Lifelong subject and interdisciplinary skills

Topic Areas

Extract-based as well as general essay, personal response to essay questions, character analysis, themes, literary devices, and their effect on the play, authorial purpose and how the writer achieves his effect, extract and use quotes from the play.

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The Government Inspector: Exploratory Play Pack for GCSE

Both funny and enthralling, Gogol’s Government Inspector sets slapstick theatre against an intriguing historical, social and cultural backdrop. With complex themes including corruption and deception, the play is perfect for developing understanding of performance and production elements at GCSE.

These ready-to-use , student-friendly notes and engaging exploratory activities combine to create the ultimate practical study pack for Government Inspector .

  • Packed with practical, written, research and discussion tasks
  • Practice essay questions interwoven throughout
  • Key terms glossary
  • Teaching notes and indicative content
  • Consolidate contextual understanding Find out how the playwright, the social, historical, political and cultural contexts and the performance context inform the play
  • Explore the play scene by scene Get insightful commentary and analysis of relevant events and themes while considering the implications on performance, direction and design
  • Uncover theatrical possibilities Take a closer look at production concepts, characterisation, staging, lighting, sound, props, costume and more in light of the whole play

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  12. 2015 Paper 1 SPECIMEN PAPER

    Questions 1–6 are based on the extract from The Government Inspector, by Nikolai Gogol, that you have studied. 1 Suggest the type of costume BOBCHINSKY and

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    Personal response to essay questions · Character analysis · Themes, literary devices, and their effect on the play · Authorial purpose and how the writer achieves

  14. The Government Inspector: Exploratory Play Pack for GCSE

    Packed with practical, written, research and discussion tasks · Practice essay questions interwoven throughout · Key terms glossary · Teaching notes and indicative