"Gulliver's Travels" By Jonathan Swift. A Critical And Insightful Work Satirizing The Political And Social Systems Of Eighteenth Century England

767 words - 3 pages

Although it appears simple and straightforward on the surface, a mere travelogue intended solely for the amusement of children, Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift, proves, upon closer examination, to be a critical and insightful work satirizing the political and social systems of eighteenth-century England. Through frequent and successful employment of irony, ambiguity and symbolism, Swift makes comments addressing such specific topics as current political controversies as well as such universal concerns as the moral degeneration of man. While he incorporates them subtly early in the novel, these observations and criticisms eventually progress to a point where they may shock or offend even the most unsuspecting reader. In order to witness this evolution of presentation, one need only observe the development of the work's central character, Captain Lemuel Gulliver, as Swift has designed his novel in such a way that, as his aspersions harshen and intensify, so do Gulliver's actions and attitudes.For instance, in book one, "A Voyage to Lilliput", when Gulliver finds himself lost in a world one-twelfth the size of his own, he proves himself to be quite naive and impressionable. Although he is simply too large to perceive them in detail, Gulliver judges the country's inhabitants he meets to be as perfect and innocent as their toylike appearances. He refers to the Lilliputian emperor, a being not even six inches high, as "His Imperial Majesty" and blindly agrees to perform any demanded service, even though he could easily overpower the tiny nation. It is only after his services have been exploited and himself banished that Gulliver realizes how cruel and deceitful the Lilliputians truly are and his personality begins to transform.In book two, "A Voyage to Brobdingnag", Gulliver faces quite an opposite situation, for in this world everything is twelve times its expected size. Somewhat hardened by his unfavorable experiences on Lilliput, Gulliver approaches the Brobdingnagians from the outset with some degree of suspicion and contempt. Although it is apparent to the reader that this particular race is far more benevolent and trustworthy than its predecessor, Gulliver bestows upon it a great deal more criticism and disrespect. He demonstrates his hypocrisy, for instance, when he expresses his revulsion at the sight of the Brobdingnagians' physical...

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