Gulliver's Travels by Swift as a Fine Example of Satire
Gulliver's Travels is a book which uses satire, to attack the politics
of its time. Swift operates on two levels; on one level he tells an
enjoyable fantasy story for all ages. On the second level behind the
superficial narrative he comments upon the issues he faces in the
reality of England and makes criticisms.
The story is set on an island called Lilliput, it is inhabited by
little people and it is this which Swift uses as a base for his views
on the world around him. Lilliput is a mirror image of London in 1726,
and it acts as a blank canvas for Swifts thoughts on reality. It
allows him to create anything, so he manages to create different ways
of criticising London.
The way Swift produces these criticisms of his world is by
transferring the moral into a comical or humorous issue. Swift does
this many times, but he is also using to his advantage as an author.
As he is putting across his views he is also pleasing both his younger
audience and older by covering up the criticisms of the books times
with an exhilarating fantasy story.
An example of his humorous technique is when the inhabitants of
Liliput are shown to select their politicians by seeing who is
superior on a tight rope. The politicians are chosen by seeing who can
jump the highest on a tight rope suspended two feet off the ground:
Five or six of those candidates petition the emperor to entertain his
majesty and the court with a dance on the rope, and whoever jumps the
highest without falling, succeeds in the office
Also another humorous event is the ceremony of breaking an egg with
your head, Swift has created a conflict between two parties, one party
breaks the egg at the large end and the other party breaks the egg at
the smaller end.
It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs
before we eat them, was upon the larger end
The discrimination of women, this may seem harsh on the women's part
but really instead of Swift being spiteful and insulting the women he
is putting across a subtle hint of superiority.
The story is a mirror image of the city of London in 1726. Lemuel
Gulliver sets out on a voyage upon a fine sailing vessel, the crew
soon run into trouble and the ship becomes wrecked. Gulliver is
stranded and runs adrift upon a strange island, this island isn't like
any other though, as Gulliver soon discovers. Its inhabitants are all
a twelfth of his size. The book describes Gulliver's amazing
adventures that lay before him. Throughout the story a great deal of
ingratitude is shown in many different forms. When Gulliver urinates
on the palace to extinguish a fire, even though Gulliver may see this
as a good deed it is seen as a kind of insult by the Lilliputians.
Gulliver is also shown ingratitude by the...