Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift Essay

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift Essay

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In today’s society, there are many who believe that humans have an innate sense of virtue and morality. They are confident that all human beings are born with a perception of what is right and what is wrong. However, there are others who take the traditional biblical stance, in which it is simply human nature to be sinful. In Gulliver’s Travels, the author, Jonathan Swift shows a strong inclination towards the latter thought: that all people are inherently evil. His disposition can easily be seen through his novel’s outlandish narratives that satire the corruptions of humanity. He puts the main character, Lemuel Gulliver, through four distinct journeys, which all inadvertently reveal vices in human society. In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the theme of corruption is portrayed through the evils of politics, the deceitful nature of humanity, and the characters’ exploitations of pride.
Throughout the novel, seizes and retentions of power are always accompanied by corrupt means. “He had heard, indeed, some curious Houyhnhnms observe, that in most herds there was a sort of ruling Yahoo (as among us there is generally some leading or principal stag in a park), who was always more deformed in body, and mischievous in disposition, than any of the rest; that this leader had usually a favourite as like himself as he could get, whose employment was to lick his master's feet and posteriors, and drive the female Yahoos to his kennel; for which he was now and then rewarded with a piece of ass's flesh. This favourite is hated by the whole herd, and therefore, to protect himself, keeps always near the person of his leader,” (Swift 241). Some Houyhnhnms observe that the Yahoos often pick terrible leaders who surround themselves with even wo...


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...ls of politics, deceit, and pride are all displayed as a satire to humanity’s flaws. Through these three examples, the reader is able to clearly see the theme of mankind’s corruption in the novel. The biblical standard that all humans are born in sin definitely applies in this story. After all, nearly character, significant or not, shows a propensity to commit evil. Whether Swift was reflecting on the Bible when he wrote this work is uncertain; however, the author made it clear that humanity has a spiteful nature and arrayed it into Gulliver’s Travels.



Works Cited

Shuman, Shirley. "pride in Gulliver's Travels." Bloom's Literature. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 15
Dec. 2013 ItemID=WE54&WID=17659&SID=5&iPin=ETL1110&SingleRecord=True>.

Swift, Jonathan, and Marcus Cunliffe. Gulliver's Travels. New York, N.Y.: Signet Classic, 1983.

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