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Gulliver Travels: Swift, and Moral Decay Essay examples

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According to the 1996 “Gulliver Swift” film, the enduring popularity of Jonathan Swift’s satiric Gulliver’s Travels was the exploration of the “grotesque,” the “deviations from ourselves,” which prompt us to ask ourselves who we truly are. However, the film offers more than this—it is also an exploration of Swift’s personal beliefs and life experiences, which color nearly every scene of Gulliver’s Travels. Thus, it becomes a more intimate portrait of a human being seeking to shed light on political corruption, while coming to terms with a deeply personal disdain for humankind’s mental and physical depravity.
Swift places Gulliver of Gulliver’s Travels in Lilliput first, a land of small creatures wherein government officials nearly literally “jump through hoops” to gain the favor of the court, and where flowery, self-important prose is the language of choice. It is important to note that Gulliver does not belittle this practice—not only due to the sincerity of the satiric style, but also because sees no reason not to accept this, until it affects him personally. Take, for instance, his reaction when he discovers his sentence to blindness at the hands of the Lilliputian king, “I could not discover the lenity and favor of so ill a judge of this sentence, but conceived it (perhaps erroneously rather to be rigorous than gentle” (Swift 2360). The Lilliputian are comical in their petty-mindedness, and according to the film, they are a “Satire of the English and the politics of their day….nepotism, favoritism, flattery, corruption” (Gulliver’s Travels). They are small people, thus they are small-minded, “going along with their size” (Gulliver’s Travels). According to the video, Swift himself was noted for hating “war, slavery, and colon...


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...must grapple with the fact (as must the reader) that the potential for complete depravity is innately built into his physical and mental makeup. Gone are the days of imitating Lilliputian speeches, putting on acts to survive in a land of giants, and of serving beasts of reason. He must eventually learn to live in this world, and come to terms with the fact that he actually does resemble the despised Yahoos, despite his best efforts—and is subject to the very same moral decay.



Works Cited

Gulliver’s Travels. Films Media Group, 1996. Films On Demand. Web. 08 November 2011..
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt and Julia Reidhead. 8th ed. Vol. 6. NY, London: W.W. Norton &, 2006. 2323-462. Print. The Restoration and the 18th Century.


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