Gulliver’s Travels: Exploring Gulliver’s Journey Essay

2337 words - 9 pages

Through metaphors in Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift showed that the self-indulgence of humanity will lead to their ultimate failure unless they learn to become kinder and more selfless. Each island in Gulliver’s Travels shows a different trait standing alone causing it to be just as bad as being self-indulgent. This type of failure will cause separation and isolation, which could lead to mental instability.
The book, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, starts off with a young surgeon who has been recently married. This young surgeon, Gulliver, is a family man who begins working as a surgeon on a ship. Gulliver at the beginning of the book is just like any other man during this era as seen in this quote from Gulliver’s Travels, “But, my good master Bates dying in two years after, and I having few friends, my business began to fail; for my conscience would not suffer me to imitate the bad practice of too many among my brethren. Having therefore consulted with my wife, and some of my acquaintance, I determined to go again to sea. I was surgeon [sic] successively in two ships, and made several voyages, for six years, to the East and West Indies, by which I got some addition to my fortune” (Swift 26). But throughout his journey, Gulliver loses track of himself and becomes someone completely different.
The first island travels to is Lilliput, but he visits the neighboring island, Blefuscu, after becoming disappointed in the people of Lilliput. The miniature people of Lilliput and Blefuscu were full of pride and were always fighting for the higher rank. In Lilliput, the government officials were elected through competitions to see who was better, as seen in this quote, “Sometimes the Emperor holds one end of the stick, and his first minister the other; sometimes the minister has it entirely to himself. Whoever performs his part with most agility, and holds out the longest in leaping and creeping, is rewarded with the blue-colored silk; the red is given to the next, and the green to the third, which they all wear girt twice round about the middle; and you see few great persons about this court who are not adorned with one of these girdles” (Swift 48). The unnecessary abundance of pride and competition causes war between these islands. If the war is unending, then it can result in destruction. Pride is a characteristic that could cause the downfall of humanity and of Gulliver.
Due to all this pride in Lilliput and Blefuscu, Gulliver begins to change. This is a shift that starts the buildup of negative emotions toward humanity. “Lilliput at first represents for Gulliver an unspoiled state whose diminutive inhabitants are unsurpassed in beauty and grace. He soon recognizes, however, that all Lilliputians are not superlatively event, and once he arrives at the court, his mood darkens. His ventures at the court reveal to Gulliver the seamy underside of Lilliput, and they also serve to expose the follies and vices of England” (Marshall 125). This quote...

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