Summary “Dead Souls”

The work of Gogol “Dead Souls” was written in the second half of the 19th century. The first volume was published in 1842, the second volume was almost completely destroyed by the author. And the third volume was never written. The plot of the work was suggested to Gogol. The poem tells about the middle-aged man, Pavle Ivanovich Chichikov, traveling through Russia to buy so-called dead souls – peasants who are not alive, but who are still listed as living documents. Gogol wanted to show all of Russia, the whole Russian soul in its breadth and immensity.

Gogol’s poem “Dead Souls” in the summary of the chapters can be read below. In the above version, the main characters are described, the most significant fragments are identified, with the help of which it is possible to compile a complete picture of the content of this poem. To read online “Dead Souls” Gogol will be useful and relevant for 9 classes.

Main characters


Ivanovich Chichikov – the main character of the poem, a college counselor of middle age. He travels through Russia for the purpose of buying up dead souls, knows how to find an approach to each person, what he constantly uses.

Other characters

Manilov is a landlord, and is no longer young. In the first minute you think about it only pleasant, and after – you do not know what to think anymore. He does not care about domestic difficulties; lives with his wife and two sons, Themistocles and Alcides.

A box is an elderly woman, a widow. She lives in a small village, she owns a farm, she sells products and furs. A mean woman. Names of all peasants knew by heart, did not keep a written record.

Sobakevich is a landowner, looking for benefits in everything. His massive and awkward appearance resembled a bear. Agrees to sell Chichikov dead souls even before he started talking about it.

Nozdryov is a landowner who can not stay at home for a day. Loving to hang out and play cards: hundreds of times he played to the nines, but still continued to play; has always been the hero

of a story, and the master himself is telling stories. His wife died, leaving the child, but Nozdrev family affairs did not care.

Plyushkin is an unusual person, whose appearance makes it difficult to determine to which estate he belongs. Chichikov first took him for an old housekeeper. Lives alone, although earlier on his estate boiled life.

Selifan is a coachman, a servant of Chichikov. He drinks a lot, is often distracted from the road, loves to think about the eternal.

Volume 1
Chapter 1

In the city of NN britzka enters with an ordinary, unremarkable. He moved into a hotel, in which, as often happens, it was poor and dirty. The baggage of the gentleman was brought in by Selifan and Parsley. The traveler almost immediately went to the tavern to find out who occupies the leading positions in this city. At the same time, the gentleman tried not to talk about himself at all, nevertheless, all with whom the master spoke, managed to make about him the most pleasant characteristic. Along with this, the author very often emphasizes the insignificance of the character.

During dinner the guest finds out from the servant who in the city the chairman, who the governor, how many wealthy landlords, the visitor did not miss a single detail. Chichikov gets acquainted with Manilov and the awkward Sobakevich, whom he quickly managed to charm with his manners and ability to stay in the public: he could always keep up the conversation on any topic, was polite, considerate and courteous. Friends with him spoke of Chichikov only positively. Behind the card table behaved like an aristocrat and gentleman, even argued somehow particularly pleasantly, for example “you are pleased to go.”

Chichikov hurried to pay visits to all the officials of this city, to arrange them to themselves and pay their respects.

Chapter 2

Chichikov lived in the city for more than a week, spending time at a binge and feasts. He started a lot of useful for him, was a welcome guest at various receptions. While Chichikov spent his time at the next dinner party, the author introduces the reader to his servants. Petrushka wore a broad frock-coat from his shoulder, had a large nose and lips. The character was silent. He liked to read, but he liked the process of reading much more than the subject of reading. Parsley always carried with him “his own special smell,” ignoring Chichikov’s requests to go to the bath. The author did not describe Selifan’s coachman, he said, he belonged to a too low estate, and the landlords and counts prefer the reader more.

Chichikov went to the village to Manilov, who “could lure a few by their location.” Although Manilov said that the village is only 15 miles from the city, Chichikov had to drive almost twice as many. Manilov at first glance was a man prominent, his features were pleasant, but too sugary. From him you will not wait for a single living word, Manilov seemed to have lived in a fictitious world. Manilov did not have anything of his own, no special features of his own. He spoke little, often reflected on high matters. When the peasant or clerk asked the master about something, he answered: “Yes, not badly,” not caring about what will happen next.

In the office of Manilov lay the book that the master had been reading for two years, and the bookmark, once left on page 14, remained in place. Not only Manilov, but the house itself suffered from a lack of something special. The house seemed to always lack something: the furniture was expensive, and the upholstery was not enough for the two chairs, and there was not any furniture in the other room, but they were always going to put it there. With his wife, the master spoke touchingly, gently. She was a match for her husband – a typical pupil of a boarding school for girls. She was trained in French, dancing and playing the piano to delight and entertain her husband. Often they talked tenderly and reverently, as if they were young lovers. It seemed that the spouses did not care about household trivia.

Chichikov and Manilov stood for several minutes in the doorway, letting each other go ahead: “Do mercy, do not worry so much for me, I’ll pass after”, “do not hesitate, please do not be at a loss.” Please, come in. ” As a result, both passed simultaneously, sideways, hitting each other. Chichikov in all agreed with Manilov, who praised the governor, and the police chief, and others.

Chichikov was surprised by the children of Manilov, two sons of six and eight, Themistoclus and Alcides. Manilov wanted to show off his children, but Chichikov did not notice any special talents. After dinner Chichikov decided to talk with Manilov about a very important matter – about the deceased peasants, who by documents are still listed as alive – about dead souls. To “save Manilov from the need to pay taxes,” Chichikov asks Manilov to sell him documents on the non-existent peasants. Manilov was somewhat discouraged, but Chichikov convinced the landowner of the legality of such a deal. Manilov decided to give “dead souls” for nothing, after which Chichikov hastily began to gather for Sobakevich, pleased with the successful acquisition.

Chapter 3

Chichikov went to Sobakevich in high spirits. Selifan, the coachman, argued with his horse, and, being carried away with reflections, stopped watching the road. Travelers lost their way.
Brichka drove for a long time off-road, until she hit the fence and rolled over. Chichikov was forced to ask for an overnight stay with the old woman, who let them in only after Chichikov told about his noble title.

The hostess was an elderly woman. It can be called frugal: there were a lot of old things in the house. The woman dressed was tasteless, but with a claim to elegance. The lady was called Korobochka Nastasya Petrovna. She did not know any Manilov, from which Chichikov concluded that they had been brought into a decent backwoods.

Chichikov woke up late. His underwear was drained and washed by the fussy coworker. Pavel Ivanovich did not stand on ceremony with Korobochka, allowing himself to be rude. Nastasya Filippovna was a college secretary, her husband had died long ago, so the whole farm was on her. Chichikov did not miss the opportunity to inquire about the dead souls. He had a long time persuading Korobochka, who also bargained. Korobochka knew all the peasants by name, so she did not keep a written record.

Chichikov was tired of a long conversation with the hostess, and was glad rather not that he had received less than twenty souls from her, but because this dialogue ended. Nastasya Filippovna, delighted at the sale, decided to sell Chichikov flour, lard, straw, fluff and honey. To appease the visitor, she ordered the servant to bake pancakes and pies, which Chichikov gladly ate, but politely refused other purchases.

Nastasya Filippovna sent a little girl with Chichikov to show her the way. The britzka was already repaired and Chichikov went further.

Chapter 4

Brijka drove up to the tavern. The author admits that Chichikov had an excellent appetite: the hero ordered a chicken, veal and a piglet with sour cream and horseradish. In the tavern Chichikov asked about the owner, his sons, their wives, and at the same time learned where the landlord lives. In the tavern Chichikov met Nozdrev, who had previously dined with the prosecutor. Nozdryov was cheerful and drunk: he lost again in the cards. Nozdryov laughed at Chichikov’s plans to go to Sobakevich, persuading Pavel Ivanovich first to visit him. Nozdryov was sociable, the soul of the company, a scoundrel and a talker. His wife died early, leaving two children, whose upbringing Nozdrev did absolutely. More than a day he could not stay at home, his soul demanded feasts and adventures. To acquaintances of Nozdryov had an amazing attitude: the closer he came to a man, the more stories he told me. At the same time Nozdrev managed to quarrel with no one after that.

Nozdrev loved dogs and even kept a wolf. The landowner so boasted of his possessions that Chichikov was tired of inspecting them, although Nozdrev attributed to his lands even a forest that could not be his property. At the table, Nozdryff poured wine on the guests, but added little to himself. In addition to Chichikov, Nozdryov was visited by his son-in-law, in which Pavel Ivanovich did not dare to speak about the true motives of his visit. However, his son-in-law soon began to get home, and Chichikov, at last, could ask Nozdrev about dead souls.

He asked Nozdrev to transfer the dead souls to himself, not giving out his true motives, but Nozdrev’s interest from this only intensified. Chichikov is forced to invent various stories: supposedly dead souls are needed to gain weight in society or to successfully marry, but Nozdryov feels a falsity, so he allows himself to be rude to Chichikov. Nozdryov suggests Pavel Ivanovich to buy from him a stallion, a mare or a dog, with which he will give the soul. Just to sell dead souls Nozdryov did not want to give.

The next morning Nozdryov behaved as if nothing had happened, suggesting Chichikov to play cards. If Chichikov wins, Nozdrev will rewrite all the dead souls on him. Both played unfairly, Chichikov was very exhausted by the game, but the police chief came unexpectedly to Nozdryov, saying that from now on Nozdrev was under trial for beating up the landowner. Taking advantage of this incident, Chichikov hastened to leave the Nozdryov estate.

Chapter 5

Chichikov rejoiced that he had left Nozdryov empty-handed. From his thoughts Chichikov distracted the accident: a horse, harnessed to Pavel Ivanovich’s carriage, was messed up with a horse from another harness. Chichikov was fascinated by the girl who was sitting in another cart. He thought about the beautiful stranger for a long time.

The village of Sobakevich seemed huge to Chichikov: gardens, stables, sheds, peasant houses. Everything seemed to have been done for ages. Sam Sobakevich seemed Chichikov like a bear. Everything at Sobakevich was massive and awkward. Each object was silly, as if saying: “and I also look like Sobakevich.” About other people Sobakevich spoke disrespectfully and rudely. Chichikov learned of him about Plyushkin, whose peasants are dying like flies.

Sobakevich reacted calmly to the offer of dead souls, even offered to sell them before Chichikov himself spoke about it. The landlord behaved strangely, filling the price, praising the already deceased peasants. Chichikov was dissatisfied with the deal with Sobakevich. Pavel Ivanovich thought that it was not he who was trying to deceive the landlord, but Sobakevich was his.
Chichikov went to Plyushkin.

Chapter 6

Immersed in his reflections, Chichikov did not notice that he had entered the village. In the village of Plyushkin, the windows in the houses were without glasses, the bread was damp and moldy, the gardens were abandoned. Nowhere was the result of human labor visible. Near the house of Plyushkin there were many buildings, overgrown with green mold.

Chichikov was met by the housekeeper. The master was not at home, the housekeeper invited Chichikov into the chambers. A lot of things were piled up in the rooms, it was impossible to understand in the piles what exactly lay there, everything was in the dust. By the nature of the room can not be said that there lived a living person.

A bent man, unshaven, entered the room in a washed-up dressing-gown. The face was nothing special. If Chichikov met this man on the street, he gave him alms.

This man was the landowner himself. There was a time when Plyushkin was a thrifty owner, and his house was full of life. Now strong feelings were not reflected in the eyes of the old man, but his forehead gave out an uncommon mind. Plyushkin’s wife died, the daughter fled with the military, the son went to town, and the youngest daughter died. The house was empty. Guests rarely looked to Plyushkin, and to see the runaway daughter, who sometimes asked her father for money, did not want to see Plyushkin. The landlord himself started a conversation about the deceased peasants, because he was glad to get rid of dead souls, although in time his suspicion appeared in his eyes.

Chichikov refused refreshments, being impressed by dirty dishes. Plyushkin decided to bargain, manipulating his plight. Chichikov bought 78 souls from him, forcing Plyushkin to write a receipt. After the deal Chichikov, as before, hurried away. Plyushkin locked the gate behind the guest, went around his possessions, storerooms and kitchen, and then thought about how to thank Chichikov.

Chapter 7

Chichikov has already acquired 400 souls, so he wanted to finish things faster in this city. He examined and put in order all the necessary documents. All the peasants Korobochki had strange nicknames, Chichikov was dissatisfied that their names took up a lot of space on paper, Plyushkin’s note was short, Sobakevich’s notes were full and thorough. Chichikov thought about how each person died, building in the imagination of guesswork and playing whole scenarios.

Chichikov went to court to assure all the documents, but he was given there to understand that without a bribe, things would go on for a long time, and Chichikov would still have to stay in the city for a while. Sobakevich, who accompanied Chichikov, convinced the chairman of the legitimacy of the deal, Chichikov also said that he had bought peasants for a withdrawal, in Kherson province.

Police chief, officials and Chichikov decided to complete the registration of documents by lunch and playing whist. Chichikov was cheerful and told everyone about his lands near Kherson.

Chapter 8

About purchases Chichikov giggles the whole city: what for Chichikov peasants? Did the landowners sell the visitor so many good peasants, and not thieves and drunkards? Will the peasants change in the new land?
The more rumors were about Chichikov’s wealth, the more he was loved. The ladies of the city of NN considered Chichikov a very attractive person. In general, the ladies of city N themselves were presentable, dressed with taste, in customs were strict, and all their intrigues remained secret.

Chichikov found himself an anonymous love letter, which was incredibly interesting. At the reception, Pavel Ivanovich could not understand which of the girls wrote to him. The traveler was a success with the ladies, and so was carried away by secular talk that he forgot to approach the hostess. The Governor was at a reception with her daughter, whose beauty Chichikov was captivated – no lady was no longer interested in Chichikov.

The author doubted whether the feeling of light love had awakened in Chichikov, for the daughter of the governor reminded Chichikov of a toy, being distinguished by purity and spontaneity among an ordinary-looking crowd.

At the reception, Chichikov met Nozdrev, who, with his cheeky behavior and drunken talk, put Chichikov in an uncomfortable position, so Chichikov was forced to leave the reception.

Chapter 9

The author introduces the reader to two ladies, friends who met early in the morning. They talked about women’s little things. Alla Grigorevna was partly a materialist, inclined to denial and doubt. The ladies gossiped about the visitor. Sofya Ivanovna, the second woman, is unhappy with Chichikov, because he was flirting with many ladies, and Korobochka even spoke about dead souls altogether, adding to his story the story of how Chichikov deceived her by throwing 15 rubles in banknotes. Alla Grigoryevna suggested that thanks to the dead souls Chichikov wants to impress the governor’s daughter in order to steal her from his father’s house. Nozdryov ladies were recorded as accomplices Chichikov.

The city was buzzing: the question of dead souls excited everyone. The ladies discussed more the story of the abduction of the girl, supplementing her with all conceivable and unimaginable details, and the men discussed the economic side of the matter. All this led to the fact that Chichikov was not allowed into the doorway and was not invited to dinner anymore. As luck would have it, Chichikov was in the hotel all the time, because he was not lucky enough to get sick.

In the meantime, the inhabitants of the city in their assumptions reached the point that they told the prosecutor everything.

Chapter 10

Residents of the city gathered at the police chief. Everybody was wondering who Chichikov was, where he came from and whether he was hiding from the law. The postmaster tells the story of Captain Kopeykin.

In this chapter, the story of Captain Kopeykin is included in the text of Dead Souls.

Captain Kopeikin tore off his arm and leg during the military campaign of the 1920s. Kopeikin decided to ask for help from the tsar. The man was struck by the beauty of Petersburg and the high prices for food and shelter. Kopeikin was waiting for the general’s reception about 4 hours, but he was asked to come later. Kopeikin’s and Konstantin’s audiences were transferred several times, Kopeikin’s faith in justice and the tsar became less and less every time. The man ran out of money for food, and the capital became disgusted because of pathos and spiritual emptiness. Captain Kopeikin decided to get into the waiting room to the general, so as to get the answer to his question. He decided to stand there until the Emperor looked at him. The general instructed the courier to deliver Kopeikin to a new place, where he would be completely under the care of the state. Kopeikin, delighted, went with the feldegerem,

All present recognized that Chichikov can not in any way be captain Kopeikin, because Chichikov has all the limbs in place. Nozdrev told many different stories and, being carried away, said that he personally invented a plan for kidnapping the daughter of the governor.

Nozdrev went to visit Chichikov, who was still sick. The landlord told Pavel Ivanovich about the situation in the city and the rumors that go about Chichikov.

Chapter 11

In the morning everything went not according to plan: Chichikov woke up later than planned, the horses were not shod, the wheel malfunctioned. After a while everything was ready.

On the way Chichikov met a funeral procession – the prosecutor died. Further, the reader will learn about Pavle Ivanovich Chichikov himself. The parents were noblemen, who had only one serf family. One day, his father took little Paul with him to the city to give the child to the school. The father punished his son to listen to teachers and to please his superiors, he did not have friends to start up, and to save money. In the school Chichikov distinguished diligence. He understood how to increase money since childhood: he sold pies from the market to hungry classmates, trained a mouse to show tricks for a fee, sculpted figures from wax.

Chichikov was in good standing. After a while he moved his family to the city. Chichikov was attracted by a rich life, he actively tried to break through into people, but hardly got into the state chamber. Chichikov did not disdain to use people for his own purposes, he was not ashamed of such an attitude. After the incident with an old official, whose daughter Chichikov was even going to marry in order to get a job, Chichikov’s career sharply went up. And that official for a long time talked about how he was deceived by Pavel Ivanovich.

He served in many departments, everywhere cunning and cheated, launched a whole campaign against corruption, although he was a bribe-taker. Chichikov started construction, but a few years later the declared house was never built, but those who supervised the construction had new buildings. Chichikov engaged in smuggling, for which he was brought to trial.

He again began his career from the lowest level. He engaged in the fact that he handed documents to the peasants in the guardian council, where he was paid for each peasant. But one day Pavel Ivanovich was informed that even if the peasants died, but according to the record they are listed as alive, the money will still be paid. So Chichikov had an idea to buy up the dead after the fact, but living according to the documents of the peasants, to sell souls to the guardian council.

Volume 2

The chapter begins with a description of the nature and lands belonging to Andrei Tentetnikov, a 33-year-old gentleman, who thoughtlessly spends his time: waking up late, washing himself for a long time, “he was not a bad person – he’s just a smoker of the sky.” After a series of unsuccessful reforms aimed at improving the life of the peasants, he ceased to communicate with others, completely dropped his hands, mired in the same endless everyday life.

Towards Tentetnikov comes Chichikov and, using his ability to find an approach to any person, remains with Andrei Ivanovich for a while. Chichikov was now more cautious and delicate when it came to dead souls. With Tentetnikov Chichikov has not talked about this yet, but talk of marriage has revived Andrei Ivanovich a little.

Chichikov goes to General Bettrischev, a man of majestic appearance, who combined many virtues and many shortcomings. Betrischev introduces Chichikov with his daughter Ulenka, in which Tentetnikov is in love. Chichikov joked a lot, than he could get the general’s location. I take this opportunity, Chichikov writes a story about an old uncle, who is obsessed with dead souls, but the general does not believe him, considering this another joke. Chichikov hurries to leave.

Pavel Ivanovich goes to Colonel Koshkarev, but gets to Peter Petuh, who finds himself completely naked while hunting sturgeon. Learning that the estate was laid, Chichikov wanted to leave, but met here with the landowner Platonov, who talks about ways to multiply wealth, which is encouraged by Chichikov.

Colonel Koshkarev, who divided his lands into plots and manufactories, also had nothing to profit from, so Chichikov, accompanied by Platonov and Constantinople, goes to Holobuyev, who sells his estate for a pittance. Chichikov gives a deposit for the estate, borrowing the money from Konstanczglo and Platonov. In the house Pavel Ivanovich expected to see empty rooms, but “was struck by the confusion of poverty with brilliant trinkets of later luxury.” Chichikov receives dead souls from Lenitsyn’s neighbor, fascinating by the ability to tickle the child. Narration stops.

It can be assumed that some time has passed since the purchase of the estate. Chichikov comes to the fair to buy cloth for a new suit. Chichikov meets Kholobuev. He is dissatisfied with the deception of Chichikov, because of which he almost lost his inheritance. On Chichikov, there are denunciations about cheating Holobuyev and dead souls. Chichikov is arrested.

Murazov, a recent acquaintance of Pavel Ivanovich, the farmer, who fraudulently earned himself a million fortune, finds Pavel Ivanovich in the basement. Chichikov tears his hair and mourns the loss of a casket of securities: Chichikov was not allowed to dispose of many personal things, including a casket, where there was enough money to give a pledge. Murazov motivates Chichikov to live honestly, not to violate the law and not deceive people. It seems that his words could be touched by certain strings in the soul of Pavel Ivanovich. Officials expecting to get a bribe from Chichikov, confuse the case. Chichikov leaves the city.


In “Dead Souls” is shown a broad and truthful picture of the life of Russia in the second half of the XIX century. Along with the beautiful nature, picturesque villages, in which the identity of a Russian person is felt, against the background of space and freedom are shown greed, stinginess and a non-vanishing desire for profit. The arbitrariness of landowners, poverty and lack of rights of peasants, hedonistic understanding of life, bureaucracy and irresponsibility are all depicted in the text of the work as in a mirror. Meanwhile, Gogol believes in a bright future, for it is not without reason that the second volume was conceived as a “moral cleansing of Chichikov.” It is in this work that Gogol’s manner of reflecting reality is most clearly visible.

You have read only a brief retelling of “Dead Souls”, for a fuller understanding of the work, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the full version.

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Summary “Dead Souls”