Although Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift has long been thought of as a children's story, it is actually a dark satire on the fallacies of human nature. The four parts of the book are arranged in a planned sequence, to show Gulliver's optimism and lack of shame with the Lilliputians, decaying into his shame and disgust with humans when he is in the land of the Houyhnhmns. The Brobdingnagians are more hospitable than the Lilliputians, but Gulliver's attitude towards them is more disgusted and bitter. Gulliver's tone becomes even more critical of the introspective people of Laputa and Lagado, and in Glubbdubdrib he learns the truth about modern man. Gulliver finds the Luggnuggians to be a "polite and generous people" (III, 177), until he learns that the Struldbruggs' immortality is a curse rather than a blessing. Throughout the course of Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver’s encounters with each culture signify a progression from benevolence towards man to misanthropy, resulting in Gulliver's final insanity.
In the first part of the book, Gulliver arrives on a strange island and wakes up tied to the ground by a culture of six-inch tall Lilliputians. Gulliver is amazed by the skill of the Lilliputians in handling him, but he is offended by their disrespect: “…in my Thoughts I could not sufficiently wonder at the Intrepidity of these diminutive Mortals, who durst venture to mount and walk on my Body, while one of my Hands was at Liberty, without trembling at the very Sight of so prodigious a Creature as I must appear to them” (I, 8). However, Gulliver complies with every inconvenience that the Lilliputians bestow on him, because he allows them to take him prisoner even though he could destroy them with one stomp. It is rather amusing that Gulliver surrenders to these tiny
people so quickly: “…when I felt the Smart of their Arrows upon my Face and Hands…I gave Tokens to let them know that they might do with me what they pleased” (I, 9). They also tie Gulliver up as if he were a dog, and search his pockets in order to confiscate any weapons, among numerous other actions in which Gulliver placidly succumbs. No matter how respectful Gulliver is, however, it is negated by his lack of shame. By urinating on the queen’s palace to put out a fire, he does not realize that he offended the queen immensely, and this is the cause for his impeachment. By making th...
... middle of paper ...
...is own race begins to turn on him ironically when he describes the culture of his native country to the Houyhnhnms. The rational beings conclude that Gulliver really is a Yahoo because the civilized people of Gulliver’s culture are just as corrupt as the less civilized Yahoos. Upon realizing the morose fact that he is indeed a Yahoo dressed up like a civilized man, Gulliver’s psyche collapses and he is transformed into a misanthrope, forever alienated from the rest of society.
All four books of Gulliver’s Travels form a rapid descent into the dark nature of man. Swift is satirizing the elements that make men human, from small pettiness to corruptness and greed. When a sane man such as Gulliver is exposed to the different aspects of human immorality, Swift
shows how these influence his life and the effect, ultimately, is the deterioration of his mind. At the end of the book, Gulliver cannot even look at his family without feeling disgust. Above all, he is disgusted with himself for being a part of such a corrupt race as man. But Gulliver is “an honest Man, and a good Sailor, but a little too positive in his own Opinions, which was the Cause of his Destruction” (IV, 191).
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Personal Identity in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels What establishes a person’s identity. What changes this personal identity. Psychologically, we have the ability to change our beliefs. Physically, our human bodies change. How do we frame the issue to better understand man’s inability to decipher his own self-identity, and more importantly, how do we know when and precisely where this change in identity occurs. Issues of personal identity are apparent in Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonathan Swift.... [tags: Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels Essays]
1755 words (5 pages)
- Jonathan Swift was born on November 30, 1667 in Ireland to English parents, Jonathan and Abigail. His father, Jonathan, died shortly after his birth, leaving his mother to raise him and his sister alone. In Ireland, Swift was dependent on a nanny for three years because his mother moved to England. The young man was educated because of the patronage of his Uncle, Godwin Swift. Godwin sent him to Kilkenny Grammar School at age six, which was one of the best primary schools in Ireland at the time.... [tags: historical and biographical analysis]
598 words (1.7 pages)
- Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift’s, Gulliver’s Travels satirically relates bodily functions and physical attributes to social issues during England’s powerful rule of Europe. Throughout the story we find many relations between bodily features and British and European society. Swift uses this tone of mockery to explain to his reader the importance of many different topics during this time of European rule. Swift feels that the body and their functions relate to political as well as the ration of a society.... [tags: Swift Gulliver Satire Essays]
1486 words (4.2 pages)
- Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels in the 1720's, he wrote it in a different style to modern authors because it was more normal in those days to do so; for example, he used more pompous and archaic words, longer sentences and longer paragraphs; Swift also used a lot of Satire and imaginary words in his book these made it more interesting and more believable. Nowadays his writing might sound strange to some people. I have been looking closely at the satire and style in chapter five of Gulliver's Travels and will comment on how he used them and what his intended effect was.... [tags: English Literature]
928 words (2.7 pages)
- In 1726, the Anglo-Irish satirist Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver's Travels was originally intended as an attack on the hypocrisy of the establishment, including the government, the courts, and the clergy, but it was so well written that it immediately became a children's favorite. Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels at a time of political change and scientific invention, and many of the events he describes in the book can easily be linked to contemporary events in Europe. One of the reasons that the stories are deeply amusing is that, by combining real issues with entirely fantastic situations and characters, they suggest that the realities of 18th-century England were as fan... [tags: essays research papers]
886 words (2.5 pages)
- 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]
1941 words (5.5 pages)
- Review of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels is a satirical novel. It was written for two different target groups; the first target group is a very young age range and it is a simple but still very exciting fairy tale, the second target group is for a lot older and more sophisticated group as it is a comment that is satirising the life, times and background of Jonathan Swift. An example of Swift making a comment on mankind is in the third part of the book where pirates capture Gulliver and leave him on some small islands which we are told rather vaguely are near to Japan.... [tags: Papers]
1307 words (3.7 pages)
- Satire in Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift In Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift makes a satirical attack on humanity. In the final book, Swift takes a stab at humanity by simultaneously criticizing physiological, mental, and spiritual aspects of humans. Literary critics Ronald Knowles and Irvin Ehrenpreis both agree that the last book focused entirely on satirizing humanity. The Yahoo brutes that inhabit Houyhnhnm Land are a despicable species that have the physical appearance of humans. Though their behavior seems to be decadent and irrational, Swift shows that most of their behavior have parallels in the life of "civilized" humans.... [tags: Papers]
1024 words (2.9 pages)
- Effective Use of Satire in Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift's story, Gulliver's Travels, is a very clever story. It recounts the fictitious journey of a fictitious man named Lemuel Gulliver, and his travels to the fantasy lands of Lilliput, Brobdinag, Laputa, and Houyhnhmn land. When one first reads his accounts in each of these lands, one may believe that they are reading humorous accounts of fairy-tale-like lands that are intended to amuse children. When one reads this story in the light of it being a satire, the stories are still humorous, but one realizes that Swift was making a public statement about the affairs of England and of the human race as a whole.... [tags: Gulliver's Travels]
720 words (2.1 pages)
- Gulliver’s Travels: Satirical Patterns Jonathan Swift wrote a novel in 1776 called Gulliver’s Travels. This novel along with all of his other writing followed a satirical pattern. Because of Swift’s vast knowledge in politics he was capable of creating a masterpiece completely ridiculing the government found in England. In Gulliver’s Travels, Swift brings us, the readers, to join him on journeys to worlds of complete nonsense. These worlds are different ways that allow for Swift to mock the old European government. In our reading, we followed him to a land called Lilliput, and then later to a land known as Brobdingnab. Swift uses humor and knowledge to completely ridicule E... [tags: Gulliver's Travels]
939 words (2.7 pages)