A Nontraditional Hero In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1004 words - 4 pages

In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, the narrator shows the reader meeting many different characters, from the tiny people to the talking horses. Gulliver reveals through his adventures what kind of a character he is. He is a likeable, amusing and interesting person, but he lacks what could be classified as a hero – in the traditional sense. Seeing him as a hero is difficult because he resembles an anti-hero more. In some ways, Gulliver is the only choice for a hero in the story. The story is told from Gulliver's perspective, which in turn makes him the most relatable character. Even though he is the driving force behind all the other characters, his character strays away from the usual nature of a hero. To further prove that he is an anti-hero, it is obvious that he is the opposite of the strong and confident ideal of a hero. He is less resourceful that most other typical heroes and is less admirable, which is evident in his attitude and the way he treats the human race. Another reason why Gulliver is an anti-hero is his tendency to act like a fool. More than a heroic figure, he more often tends to play a comic role.
Throughout the story, the readers and the other characters see him as bizarre rather than the noble character that a hero possesses. An example of this is when the troops marched under his legs and when the soldiers looked and saw his condition, they found an opportunity to make a fun of him. They clearly did not see him as a person of importance; rather they saw him as a person that they could make fun of. Also, in Brobdingnag, all of his surroundings are there to make him feel insignificant. In the midst of all the giants, he is an average sized human being and can't help but feeling like a toy because of his small size. When Gulliver meets up with the Queen, the visual of the two of them also has an effect on the readers, and this effect make Gulliver feel anything but heroic. This loss of self-confidence further leads him to his status as an anti-hero. While he was there, he was regularly the victim of practical jokes and tricks were frequently played on him. He is seen as a toy around everyone because of his small size, which results in them using him for enjoyment purposes. Gulliver himself noted that he is toyed with like a creature and they feel no sense of consequence regarding it. With him being treated this way, Gulliver seems to have a hard time even being acknowledged as a person, much rather a hero.
Another reason why Gulliver is an anti-hero is because of his lack of physical accomplishment. Even when he has a size advantage, he is regarded as someone without power. He gets tied up by those whom are noticeably smaller than him while he is asleep. In the beginning,...

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