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In 'the Government Inspector', Nikolai Gogol '...Resolved To Gather Into One Heap All That Was Bad In Russia.' Playing The Mayor, Illustrate How You Would Communicate This To An Audience.

1156 words - 5 pages

Russia in the 19th Century was a country full of corruption, and battles between social classes. As state secondary school and university education became more readily available, the number of educated gentry grew. As there were more people who fitted into the elitist category, rather than being serfs, the upper classes had more need to define them as truly elite, and so great competition between seemingly equal people occurred. The class system in Russia then got out of hand. This is exampled in Gogol's own life, as when he settled in St Petersburg in 1829, he had a certificate attesting his right to 'the rank of the 14th class.'The problem of defining a person's social status stretched back to Gogol's grandfather. Gogol's real name was Ianovskii, but his grandfather had taken the name 'Gogol', to claim he was of noble Cossack ancestry, and thus climb the social ladder.The corruption that existed in Russia around this time was an offshoot of the need to define one's social status. People needed more than ever, to be wealthy to prove their mettle amongst others. Inevitably this spread into the way the country was run, and in the civil service and other men in office undertook many malpractices including embezzling money and bribing, to reaffirm their status.The opening scene of the play displays the true form of Russian society. The Mayor has just received a letter to inform him that his province will be visited by a government inspector shortly, and thus his, and the other heads of departments, will be exposed as effective criminals. The Mayor would be very tense in this scene, as he is terrified of being exposed. As the scene opens the Mayor would be pacing up and down in front of the heads of departments. He would be wringing his hands slowly, really accentuating the squeezing motion so as to bring across to the audience the amount of tension he is feeling. However, despite being tense, his dialogue contains many comments on social status. When he is about to read the letter out he says, "Now let me read you this letter from Andrei Ivanovich Chmykov - you know him Artemy Filippovich." This already demonstrates a divide between the Mayor and the Warden of Charities, and the other characters. The Warden of Charities associates with the same people that the Mayor does, which raises his status when compared to the other heads of departments who do not. The Mayor would be aware of this. When speaking that line he would sidle up to the Warden of Charities slowly. He would cock his head as he says, "Artemy Filippovich" as if to reinforce that the Warden of Charities has, in effect, 'scored' a social point on the others. He would also pause before saying "Artemy Filippovich" so as to place more emphasis on the name, making the name more important, and therefore the Warden of Charities more important than the others - albeit only for a second.As he continues the Mayor deliberately reads out, "My dear friend, cousin and benefactor..." He does this to...

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