As a high official depicted in the play styles it, this work is "a pasquinade on Moscow". The play's merits are in its accurate representation of certain social and official types-such as Famusov, the lover of old abuses, the hater of reforms; his secretary, Molchalin, servile fawner upon all in office; the aristocratic young liberal and Anglomaniac, Repetilov; contrasted with whom is the hero of the piece, Chatsky, the ironic satirist, just returned from the west of Europe, who exposes and ridicules the weaknesses of the rest, his words echoing that outcry of the young generation of 1820 which reached its climax in the military insurrection of 1825, and was then sternly silenced by Nicholas I. Although rooted in the classical French comedy of Molière, the characters are as much individuals as types, and the interplay between society and individual is a sparkling dialectical give-and-take.
Griboyedov spent the summer of 1823 in Russia, completed his play and took it to St.Petersburg. There it was rejected by the censors. Many copies were made and privately circulated, but Griboyedov never saw it published. The first edition was printed in 1833, four years after his death. Only once did he see it on the stage, when it was acted by the officers of the garrison at Yerevan. Soured by disappointment, he returned to Georgia, made himself useful by his linguistic knowledge to his relative Count Ivan Paskevich during a campaign against Persia, and was sent to St. Petersburg with the Treaty of Turkmenchay of 1828. Brilliantly received there, he thought of devoting himself to literature, and commenced a romantic drama, A Georgian Night (Грузинская ночь, or Gruzinskaya noch').
The incident began when an Armenian eunuch escaped from the Persian shah's harem, and two Armenian girls escaped from that of his son-in-law's. All three sought refuge at the Russian embassy. As agreed to in the Treaty of Turkmenchay, Armenians living in Persia were permitted to return back to Eastern Armenia. The Shah demanded that Griboyedov return the three back but Griboyedov refused as he knew what sort of fate awaited them if he did. This caused an uproar throughout the city as several thousand Persians encircled the Russian compound demanding for their release.
At the last moment, Griboyedov only reluctantly decided to give them up when the mob broke through the compound. The Cossack detachment assigned to protect the embassy was too small in number but held off the mob for over an hour until finally being driven back to Griboyedov's office. There, he and the rest of the Cossacks held out even further until the mob broke through and slaughtered them all. Griboyedov's head was cut off and his body thrown into a rubbish heap. The eunuch was one of the first killed in the assault on the embassy; the fate of the two Armenian girls remains unknown.
His body was for three days so ill-treated by the mob that it was at last recognized only by an old scar on the hand, due to a wound received in a duel. His body was taken to Tiflis and buried in the monastery of Saint David (Mtatsminda Pantheon). His 16-year-old widow, Nino, on hearing of his death, gave premature birth to a child, who died a few hours later. She lived another thirty years after her husband's death, rejecting all suitors and winning universal admiration by her fidelity to his memory.
In a move to placate Russia for the attack and the death of its ambassador, Persia presented the Tsar with a large diamond, now known as the Shah Diamond, as a gift.