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The Inspector-General (the Government Inspector) (Paperback)
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Based upon a personal anecdote recounted to Gogol by the great Russian poet Pushkin, "The Inspector-General," also known as "The Government Inspector," is a satirical play first published in 1836. It is a comedy of errors that unstintingly portrays human greed and stupidity. The plot centers around the officials of a small provincial town in Russia, who have been informed that a dreaded inspector is soon to arrive. They mistakenly assume that the inspector is Khlestakov, an irresponsible, feckless young clerk returning home from St. Petersburg. The servility and bribery displayed by the officials betrays their fear that their misdeeds will be uncovered. This play, with its complete dearth of sympathetic characters, brilliantly constructed plot, and artful language, creates a perfect comic tension that unapologetically reveals the profound corruption of power in Tsarist Russia. First staged amidst strong objection, "The Inspector-General" has become one of the greatest of Russian comedies.