Satire and Critique in Dead Soul by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Better Essays
A Satire for the Ages

Satirical fiction, although unique and one of a kind in its nature, has continued to be an enthralling and captivating subject out of the plethora of themes that exist throughout literature history and thrive to this day. While the many forms of humor that appear throughout a novel, from comical, ironic characters to witty, exaggerated plots, are often considered tame and childish themes, authors, skillful and clever alike, are able to utilize such forms of humor and transform them into a means of stirring emotion within their audiences, in order to deliver logical, yet powerful messages. For centuries, authors have used satires as devices to not only ridicule, but to expose and criticize people’s stupidity and vices, often so in the context of character and demeanor. 19th century Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was undoubtedly no different. Considered Gogol’s greatest work, Dead Souls is both an exemplar of intellectual Russian critique and side-splitting comedy gold, making it a satire worth crowning its author as one of the greatest writers of his time. Through the protagonist, Pavel Invanovitch Tchitchikov, and his encounters with the many different Russian nobles, women, and serfs that appear throughout the novel, Gogol depicts the flaws and faults of post-Napoleonic Feudalism and Russian mentality, all while providing a humorous and eye-opening form of entertainment. Nikolai Gogol, in his masterpiece, Dead Souls, deftly and flawlessly satirizes the evils that plague his time, such that an unfinished manuscript could become one of the greatest satires of all time.

One of the characters by which Gogol satirizes Russian noblemen and their manner is none other than the protagonist himself. Pavel Invanovitch T...

... middle of paper ...

... mentioning. Nikolai Gogol deftly and eloquently illustrates the spitefulness and the many faults that lay within the very roots of Russian serfdom, through his mastery and impeccable usage of satire.

As enticing, captivating, and entertaining as it is, Dead Souls both frankly and meticulously brings clarity upon the flaws and faults of Russian class, noblemen, and society as a whole. Nikolai Gogol passionately and powerfully calls for change and, with his unblemished skill over satire, is able to comically, yet effectively convey his message. Through his endeavor to correct Russian society, he left an impact in Russian prospect, as well as a message for the world to take heed. Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol’s stunning success, Dead Souls, will forever leave a mark as not only a resolve to further better a nation, but also as an epitome of satire for the world.
Get Access