A Nontraditional Hero in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

A Nontraditional Hero in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

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In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, the narrator shows the reader meeting many different characters, from the tiny people to the talking horses. Gulliver reveals through his adventures what kind of a character he is. He is a likeable, amusing and interesting person, but he lacks what could be classified as a hero – in the traditional sense. Seeing him as a hero is difficult because he resembles an anti-hero more. In some ways, Gulliver is the only choice for a hero in the story. The story is told from Gulliver's perspective, which in turn makes him the most relatable character. Even though he is the driving force behind all the other characters, his character strays away from the usual nature of a hero. To further prove that he is an anti-hero, it is obvious that he is the opposite of the strong and confident ideal of a hero. He is less resourceful that most other typical heroes and is less admirable, which is evident in his attitude and the way he treats the human race. Another reason why Gulliver is an anti-hero is his tendency to act like a fool. More than a heroic figure, he more often tends to play a comic role.
Throughout the story, the readers and the other characters see him as bizarre rather than the noble character that a hero possesses. An example of this is when the troops marched under his legs and when the soldiers looked and saw his condition, they found an opportunity to make a fun of him. They clearly did not see him as a person of importance; rather they saw him as a person that they could make fun of. Also, in Brobdingnag, all of his surroundings are there to make him feel insignificant. In the midst of all the giants, he is an average sized human being and can't help but feeling like a toy because of his ...


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...turn that a classic hero would get, he wishes to be back in the land of the Houyhnhnms. He is disgusted to be back with his family – which is not supposed to happen. His image becomes concrete when he make the choice of animals over humans. For a typical hero, it would be expected of him to be able to relate better to humans rather than animals. Throughout Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver fails to live up to the standards of a hero on numerous occasions. Even though the story is about him, he fails to show the characteristics that a main character – a hero – would show in a story. He has a comic image instead of a heroic one. He lacks the motivation and independence that is expected of him. Lastly, he does not have a regard for the human race which eventually leads to madness which makes it difficult for the readers to see him possess the traits of a traditional hero.

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