Gulliver’s Travels By Jonathan Swift Essay

1561 words - 6 pages

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 worse subordinates to make them appear less abysmal. This same concept, although seemingly primitive in the novel, can also be seen in our world’s history. Most kings in the world’s history were tyrants or bad rulers, but even more often, the nobility that supported them was dreaded by the people. They were much worse than the king himself. “I was surprised to find corruption grown so high and so quick in that empire, by the force of luxury so lately introduced; which made me less wonder at many parallel cases in other countries, where vices of all kinds have reigned so much longer,” (Swift 184). When Gulliver reflects on the Roman Empire, he realizes that the current British Empire’s feats are very similar to that of Rome’s. There was a great influx of corruption in the Roman Empire once they gained wealth and power. The same has already begun to happen in England, and it will only become worse.
“This diversion is only practiced by those persons who are candidates for great employments, and high favour at court. They are trained in this art from their youth, and are not always of noble birth, or liberal education. When a great office is vacant, either by death or disgrace (which often happens,) five or six of those...

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