The Government Inspector is perhaps the greatest comedy written for the Russian stage. Hlestakov, a junior civil servant who is broke and starving, is mistaken for the dreaded Nemesis, the Inspector-General; word has gone round that the Inspector would be travelling incognito from St. Petersburg. In the ensuing panic among the town officials, bureaucracy and corruption are effectively exposed. Gogol skilfully combines the comical nature of the situations with that of the character and that of the cracking of the whip with that of uproarious laughter. It is these qualities that give the play universal popularity.
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