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Word Count: 1,182
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 Gogols 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 persons social status stretched back to Gogols grandfather Gogols 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 ones 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
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