2023 Author: Leah Sherlock | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 12:28
Gogol's poem "Dead Souls" is one of the most significant literary works of the 19th century. In it, the author reveals the most important problems of Russia at that time. However, do not forget that the work is not finished, because shortly before his death, Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol burned the second volume of this poem.
Contrary to popular belief, the main reason why the author decided not to continue Dead Souls is not that he had mental problems. The reasons for this act are much deeper and they lie, first of all, in the ideological basis of the poem.
The meaning of the work
Initially, Gogol conceived not 2, but as many as 3 volumes of the poem. It was supposed to be composed on the principle of Dante's Divine Comedy. In the original, the hero first goes through the circles of hell, then ends up in purgatory, and then heaven awaits him. It was these three places that were supposed to become the ideological basis for the three volumes of dead souls.
However, in the process of working on the work, Gogol realized that his plan was not feasible, becausehe is writing a book about Russia, and the problems that should have been solved actually require much deeper analysis. Therefore, the author decides that neither the second nor the third volume makes any sense.
In Dante's Divine Comedy, the protagonist goes through all the circles of hell, and each circle is a more terrible place than the previous one. “Dead Souls” has a similar structure.
The main character, Chichikov, visits different landowners in turn, each of which has more disgusting vices than the previous one. The purpose of the visit of the protagonist is the purchase of dead souls, that is, serfs who are already dead. This, in theory, could bring him profit, but in reality everything turned out differently.
Heroes of the poem
When visiting a new landowner, Chichikov always tries to be as kind and helpful as possible, because his main goal is to earn money. He does it dishonestly, but most of the landowners do not refuse the main character.
Each landowner embodies certain human vices that manifest themselves both in his behavior and in the economy. Next, we will talk about the household of one of the landowners - Nozdrev, and using his example it will become clear how the estate characterizes the character in Gogol's poem.
First of all, it is worth noting that Nozdryov does not deal with the affairs of his own estate, since they are not at all interesting to him. He entrusted all the worries to the clerk, whom he regularly swears at, and it doesn’t matter whether he is in business or not. Therefore, the estate of Nozdrevis in a deplorable state.
The main pride of the landowner is the stable. It is there that he first of all leads Chichikov, showing him his estate. In total, the inspection of the estate took the heroes no more than two hours, since there was nothing special to show.
Nozdryov himself is a very absurd and unpredictable character. At any moment he can yell at someone and swear. This characterization of the hero is perfectly complemented by the fact that the estate of Nozdrev, in addition to ordinary livestock, keeps a real wolf on a leash in its household. They feed him only raw meat, justifying their actions as follows:
Here's a wolf cub! - he said. “I feed him raw meat on purpose. I want him to be a perfect beast!”.
Speaking about the features that Nozdryov’s estate (“Dead Souls”) has, the main character’s quotes should be taken into account first of all, because it is the way he himself speaks about his estate that gives the most complete description of his personality.
Suffice it to recall, for example, the episode where the landowner tells Chichikov about what huge fish are found in his pond. According to Nozdrev, even two people can hardly pull out one fish, although in reality this is not at all the case. This episode reveals the character as a braggart and talker.
The absurdity, ignorance and recklessness of Nozdryov is complemented by the fact that many loud, furious dogs live on his estate, whom he loves very much. According to the author, the landowner was among the dogs like a father among the family.
Nozdrev's estate has nodecent roads, and this once again emphasizes the fact that he absolutely does not give a damn about his household and he does not know how to manage the estate at all. And not only can't, but has no desire to do it.
No matter how poor Nozdryov's estate is, there are still dead souls in it, so Chichikov is trying to buy them. However, he does not succeed, as the owner insists that he must first play cards. Chichikov refuses, so the estate of Nozdrev ("Dead Souls") does not bring him what he wants, which greatly upsets the hero.
In Gogol's poem "Dead Souls" a lot of attention is paid not only to the landowners themselves, whom Chichikov visits, but also to the conditions in which they live. Every detail in the character's household helps to better reveal his personality, which can be clearly seen in the example of Nozdryov. This character is an absurd ignoramus, and therefore the estate of Nozdrev is in poor condition, and its main advantage is dogs and horses. However, do not forget about the hero himself. Speaking about what features Nozdryov's estate has in the poem "Dead Souls", the hero's quotes should also be remembered, because they give the most complete characterization of the character.
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