Essay about Friendship in Oroonoko and Gulliver’s Travels

Essay about Friendship in Oroonoko and Gulliver’s Travels

Length: 1291 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The word ‘friend’ often carries vague connotations and assumptions that have no real purpose to the meaning of the word that is important here. Within the boundaries of a true friendship, the superiority of one individual over another should never be outward nor should one individual benefit at the other’s expense; also, an individual should not claim ownership over the other within a relationship termed a friendship. A relationship where an individual contains more power over another and asserts this power cannot be defined a friendship regardless of how kind each individual is to the other. Through the account of an unnamed female, Aphra Behn outlines such a relationship within the narrative of Oroonoko and his encounters with other characters as a royal slave. One character in particular, Mr. Trefry, a plantation supervisor, takes a keen liking to Oroonoko and holds him up on a pedestal of excellence for all to see; however, his actions towards Oroonoko suggest that he sees him as a prize possession rather than a man of equal value. Trefry’s unwillingness and eventual failure to free Oroonoko from slavery insinuates that the relationship between the characters is not that of mutual respect and, consequently, cannot be defined as friendship. As Aristotle claims, there is no difference between a good friend and a friend for a “friend is one who will always try… to do what he takes to be good for you” (emphasized), which is a belief that, evidently, is important here (Aristotle Rhetoric I.1.5). In Jonathan Swift’s tale, Gulliver’s Travels, Part 2, Gulliver, again, meets a collective group of individuals who are of unequal size to him, but this time who are larger. Swift takes a satirical and more literal approach to the notion of ...


... middle of paper ...


...dship. Within each relationship, the higher status individual is aware of his or her own actions as beneficial to his or herself. Neither Trefry nor Glumdalclitch puts the notion of what he or she takes to be good for the other individual, Oroonoko or Gulliver, and, as a result, friendship is ruled out and consequences ensue.



Works Cited

Aristotle. On Rhetoric. The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2nd ed. Ed. Trans. Patricia Bizzell & Bruce Herzberg. New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2001. Book I, Chapter V. Print.
Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol C. 9th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W. W. Norton, 2012. 2313-2358. Print.
Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver’s Travels. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Vol C. 9th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W. W. Norton, 2012. 2492-2633. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Lockean Philosophy in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

- An Exploration of Lockean Philosophy in Gulliver's Travels              Ricardo Quintana asserts in his study Two Augustans that even "though Swift as a traditional philosophical realist dismissed Lockian empiricism with impatience, he recognized in Lockian political theory an enforcement of his own convictions" (76). It may be argued, however, than when two contemporary authors, such as Locke and Swift, are shaped within the same matrix of cultural forces and events, they reveal through their respective works a similar ideology....   [tags: Gulliver's Travels]

Strong Essays
3541 words (10.1 pages)

Essay on Gulliver's change throughout Gulliver's Travels

- Gulliver’s change throughout Gulliver’s Travels Throughput the book “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift, the character Gulliver changes many times. During and after part two and four of the book a noticeable change in Gulliver starts to occur. He himself may not see it but the reader sees it and ones attitude towards Gulliver might change due to Gulliver’s changes. Throughout these two parts, we see Gulliver as an adventurous man that wants to see everything that has been created in the world....   [tags: Johnathan Swift Gullivers Travels Gulliver]

Strong Essays
922 words (2.6 pages)

Satire in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

- Satire in Gulliver's Travels               On the surface, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver's Travels appears to be a travel log, made to chronicle the adventures of a man, Lemuel Gulliver, on the four most incredible voyages imaginable. Primarily, however, Gulliver's Travels is a work of satire. "Gulliver is neither a fully developed character nor even an altogether distinguishable persona; rather, he is a satiric device enabling Swift to score satirical points" (Rodino 124). Indeed, whereas the work begins with more specific satire, attacking perhaps one political machine or aimed at one particular custom in each instance, it finishes with "the most savage onslaught on humanity ever written,"...   [tags: Gulliver's Travels]

Free Essays
1941 words (5.5 pages)

Gulliver's Travels – Innocent Nature Essay

- Gulliver's Travels – Innocent Nature I disagree that Gulliver is a naive narrator and therefore doesn't see a connection between knowledge and the acquisition of power. As R.Davis and R. Schleifer wrote, "Gulliver, gullibly suited like the rest of us, never quite understands the ... relationship between knowledge and power." There is a very close relationship between knowledge and power. With them being such important traits, each one seems to be included with the other. In Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift, the use of satirical writing on both the island of Lilliput and Brobdingang serve to make the narrator a gullible character therefore excusing critiques of E...   [tags: Gulliver's Travels Essays]

Strong Essays
611 words (1.7 pages)

Gulliver's Travels: An Altered Perspective Essay

- Gulliver's Travels: An Altered Perspective Jonathan Swift's ultimate satirical masterpiece, Gulliver's Travels, scrutinizes human nature through a misanthropic eye. More directly, it examines the bastardization English society underwent. The brilliant tale depicts the journey of Lemuel Gulliver, an Englishman, and his distorted encounters. Examining the prominent political and social conflicts of England in the eighteenth century, Swift's critical work causes much controversy. Gulliver's Travels leads him to places of opposite environments and presents him with different opportunities....   [tags: Swift Gulliver's Travels]

Strong Essays
752 words (2.1 pages)

An Analysis of Gulliver's Travels Essay

- An Analysis of Gulliver's Travels When I first started reading the book I thought its only purpose was to talk about the political system in England. But after some pages I found that there could be a deeper message concealed, between the lines somewhere. The book is divided into four minor novels. The first is about the Lilliputian's the second about Gulliver visits the giants, the third about the flying island and last about Gullivers travels to the land of Houyhnhmland. In the first book Gulliver gets shipwrecked and ends up on the island Lilliput were some inhabitans of the island finds him and ties him to the ground....   [tags: Gulliver's Travels Essays]

Free Essays
655 words (1.9 pages)

Gulliver's Travels - Satire Essay

- Gulliver's Travels - Satire Gulliver's Travels was written during an era of change known as the Reformation Period. The way this book is written suggests some of the political themes from that time period, including the well-known satire. These themes are displayed throughout Gulliver's Travels, and even sometimes reflect upon today's society. Many things in the book Gulliver's Travels prove that it was set in the Restoration Period. Some of the ways you can tell this are: the clothing, the speech, the governments, and of course, the lack of technology....   [tags: Gulliver's Travels Essays]

Free Essays
703 words (2 pages)

Gulliver's Travels Essay

- At first Gulliver’s travels comes off as a fantasy/adventure, but in actuality it’s a satirical commentary on society in Johnathan Swift. It starts off with Gulliver talking about himself. Later he gets shipwrecked and ends up in Lilliput, where the people are 6 inches tall. At first they think Gulliver is an enemy, but then realize he is no threat. He is taken to the palace and housed in a cursed temple. Gulliver is amazed at how silly the government’s rules are, for example to gain entry to the court the candidates must petition to the emperor....   [tags: Gulliver's Travels]

Strong Essays
1017 words (2.9 pages)

Understanding Gulliver's Travels Essay

- Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels in 1762 with the intent of entertaining many people. Entertainment through satire is what Swift had in mind. To fully understand Gulliver's Travels, one must first reflect upon the following: the plot, character, setting, theme, point of view, conflict, climax, resolution, symbolism, and figurative language. These ideas will help the reader comprehend some of the ideas portrayed throughout the novel, as well as why Swift wrote them....   [tags: Gulliver's Travels Essays]

Free Essays
798 words (2.3 pages)

Gulliver's Travels Essay

- As a seemingly wise and educated man, throughout the novel Gulliver's Tarvels, the narrator cleverly gains the reader's respect as a thinking and observant individual. With this position in mind, the comments and ideas that Gulliver inflicts upon those reading about his journeys certainly have their own identity as they coincide with his beliefs and statements on the state of humanity and civilization in particular. Everywhere Gulliver goes, he seems to comment on the good and bad points of the people he encounters....   [tags: Gulliver's Travels]

Free Essays
1289 words (3.7 pages)