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Abuse of power in Gulliver's travels Essay

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Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels presents a narrator, Lemuel Gulliver, who recounts his various sea voyages to fantastical lands. During each voyage, Gulliver encounters different societies and customs to which Gulliver must adjust to. in order to be accepted into their society The entire novel serves as a commentary on how people everywhere have a tendency to abuse the power given to them.
Gulliver’s first voyage is to Lilliput. The ship that Gulliver travels on capsizes, and Gulliver finds himself on a strange unknown island. He falls asleep, and upon waking up, Gulliver finds himself surrounded and bound by numerous little people who come to be known as the Lilliputians. Gulliver describes the strange people who bound him as being “a human Creature not six inches high,” (Swift 17).
Despite their small stature, the Lilliputians still abuse their power over Gulliver through tying him up. The Lilliputians bind Gulliver up as such:
I lay all this while, as the Reader may believe, in great uneasiness:at length, struggling to get loose, I had the fortune to break the Strings, and wrench out the Pegs that fastened my left Arm to the Ground; for, by lifting it up to my Face, I discover’d the Methods they had taken to bind me; and, at the same time, with a violent Pull, which gave me excessive Pain, I a little loosened the Strings that tied down my Hair on the left Side, so that I was able to turn my Head about two Inches. (18)
This passage is significant to the fact that while Gulliver is tremendously larger than the Lilliputians, he just lays where they have tied him up despite the fact that he could easily get out of his ‘constraints’. Lori Sue Goldstein says that, “In Gulliver's Travels, Swift enables us to see that we ...


... middle of paper ...


...hat people abuse the power that is given to them. The different voyages serve to display different lands with different types of cultures and peoples. In doing so, Gulliver’s Travels demonstrates that regardless of different cultures and societies, people everywhere will abuse the power given to them.


Works Cited
Ann, Cline Kelly. "GULLIVER AS PET AND PET KEEPER: TALKING ANIMALS IN
BOOK 4." ELH 74.2 (2007): 32349.
ProQuest. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Goldstein, Lori Sue. "Swift's Gulliver: A Question of Freedom of Slavery." Order No.
1344697 Florida Atlantic University, 1991. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 29 Nov.
2013. wPDF?accountid=14270>
Jacobe, Monica F. "Society Cannot Be Flat: Hierarchy and Power in Gulliver's Travels." Nebula


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