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. Through Gulliever's journey, Swift ridicules Gulliver as an individual character, and also as a product of England's social practices.
First, Gulliver travels to Lilliput, a land of miniature humans. The culture and society of the Lilliputians is very similar to that of Gulliver's home, England. However, in this undersized environment, Gulliver's outlook is altered. The Lilliputians actions seem trivial and insignificant. Because Gulliver is so incredibly large to this race, the emperor utilizes him as a monument. Gulliver explains, "He desired I would stand like a colossus with my legs as far asunder as I conveniently could. He then commanded the troops in close order and march them under me." (p. 377) This grand celebration of thousands of horses, an army of toy troops, and flamboyant reverberations of color and sound all underneath Gulliver is a frivolous interpretation of the Lilliputians asserting their pride and buoying their national egos. Gulliver, in size, is superior to the Lilliputians; however, they still have complete control of him. The society of Gulliver, portrayed by Swift, becomes underdeveloped, stunted, and f...
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...an king, England's management of laws, government, religion, and conquests were absolutely appalling. While Gulliver boasts of his country's achievements, the king is horrified. Swift implies that humans have the potential to overcome corruption while simultaneously disparaging English practices of such evil intent.
Gulliver's Travels is one of the most successful satires against man's corrupt nature. This open political and social ridicule by Jonathan Swift employs the journey of Gulliver to portray the faults of England. Gulliver's travels to places where his perspective is altered thus allowing faults to be revealed on many different levels. By alluding to the misconceived political and social life of eighteenth century England, Swift effectively expresses his disapproval. Gulliver, as an Englishman, cannot help but to descend to idiocy no matter his size.
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