Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift Essay

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift Essay

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The idea of a perfect society, or Utopia as it was called by Sir Thomas More, fascinated the world during the 18th century. By definition, utopia actually means “no place,” so it is easy to believe that a utopia is a fantasy. However, people have been drawn to the idea of a utopia throughout history. In fact much or More’s Utopia can be, at least in part, traced to Plato’s ideas written in Republic.” The contrast bewteen uptopia and the everyday life of most residents of England was, however, very stark. It was the real disappointments in life that motivated a different use of the utopian ideal by Jonathan Swift. Swift borrows the perfect society as social satire of the England, in which he actually lived.
As the author of A Modest Proposal, it is easy to understand that Jonathan Swift would use similar techniques in Gulliver’s Travels. One of those tools being social satire. Swift lived with many disappointments in his personal life and witnessed mistreatment of others. England in the late 17th and early 18th century was filled with corruption, greed, and pride. He chose to use satire as his weapon and defense against that which he disapproved. “In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift creates several different societies which, in contrast to the real world in which Swift actually lived, could be described as utopian. In doing so, Swift identifies the faults in each society.” Swift points to weaknesses of human nature in Gulliver’s Travels as a demonstration of why utopia is impossible for humanity to achieve.
Each of the societies in Gulliver’s Travels represents a utopia but none more than the Houyhnhnms. Gulliver reaches Houyhnhnm Land by chance. After a short stay in England he becomes a captain of a ship and sails tow...


... middle of paper ...


...pia that Swift gives Gulliver a desire for belonging in which he cannot help but to want to return back home in England and not stay in any of the societies to which he journeyed.



Works Cited

Houston, Chloe . "Utopia, Dystopia or Anti-utopia? Gulliver's Travels and the Utopian Mode of Discourse." Utopian Studies. 2007 . State College: Penn State University Publisher, 2007.

Swift, Jonathan, and Marcus Cunliffe. Gulliver's Travels. New York, N.Y.: Signet Classic, 1983.p. 269-270

Smith, Nicole. "A Realistic Utopia in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swifts." Article Myriad. N.p., 6 Dec. 2011. Web. 6 May 2014. .

Baker-Smith, Dominic, "Thomas More", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2014/entries/thomas-more

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