Literary Analysis Paper Essay on Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
Past the political satire and laughable motifs in the book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, the purpose of this story is to show everything ignoble and tactless of the human species in general and that humans are truly disgusting. Also exploring the idea of a utopia. Swift uses the literary device of political satire to show how childish and ignorant human acts were. This is because during Swift's time in the eighteenth century, Britain was modernizing at this time. The reader follows the four narrative travels of the main character, Lemuel Gulliver. Each of the four voyages Gulliver has traveled to, is a different society that portrays one of the main ideals of the eighteenth century in Britain. The four places Gulliver has traveled to were Lilliput; being Gulliver's first voyage, Brobdingnag; his second voyage, Laputa; the third voyage, and lastly to the land of the Houyhnhms; being his last voyage and afterwards traveling back home to England. The experience from being exposed to these four societies has had a huge impact on how Gulliver now sees humans.
The first voyage is to Lilliput, the people who reside here are called Lilliputans. Gulliver is seen as a giant here because the people of Lilliput are extremely tiny; not six inches high (3). The Lilliputians are a political satire of the England of Swift's time. For reference, England and France kept having constant wars as to Lilliput and Blesfuscu. (S45) This is shown especially when in the text of Gulliver's travels:
This diversion is only practised 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 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. Very often the chief ministers themselves are commanded to show their skill, and to convince the emperor that they have not lost their faculty. Flimnap, the treasurer, is allowed to cut a caper on the straight rope, at least an inch higher than any other lord in the whole empire. I have seen him do the summerset several times together, upon a trencher fixed on a rope which is no thicker than a common pack-thread in England. My friend Reldresal, principal secretary for private affairs, is, in my opinion, if I am not partial, the second after the treasurer; the rest of the great officers are much upon a par. (17)
This political satire is used to show that Lilliput is like England. Which shows how bad England's politicians were. Another political satire reference Swift has made refers to the politicians of England in his time. He shows that the high court officials, the politicians, are chosen based on their...