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The Use Of Satire In Gulliver's Travels

889 words - 4 pages

Satire is a literary work that uses humor, hyperbole, and derision to ridicule the human behaviors and customs. Rather than being judgmental, many writers utilize satire to convey their innovative ideas to change certain aspects of society. From the many writers that used satire to condemn the actions of society, Jonathan Swift's, Gulliver's travels, stands as one of the best satirical work in human history. Published in 1726, Gulliver's travels is an adventure of Lemuel Gulliver whose voyage turns into a series of disasters to various strange islands where he lives with humans and animals of various sizes, behaviors, and philosophies. Through the usage of extended metaphor and symbolism, Swift brings to light numerous religious and political follies of 18th century English society through the characterizations of the Lilliputians.
Lemuel Gulliver is the third son of his father. He was born in the peaceful county of Nottinghamshire, where he attended post-secondary school at Emanuel College. He became an English surgeon after attending medical school at the prestigious University of Leiden. Even though, Gulliver is a smart man, he is without a doubt gullible. He has a simplistic unbiased view of the world. He believes everyone is just as honest and modest as he is while in reality the world is full of corrupted individuals.
After University, Gulliver sets out to be a voyager. In his most significant voyage, he travels as a surgeon on the merchant ship, Antelope. While in sea, a catastrophic storm devastates the ship causing the crewmembers to die. Subsequently, Gulliver washes up on the shores of Lilliput as the only survivor from the Antelope. After waking up from his tribulation, he finds that he is captured and tied down by the Lilliputians—men that are only six inches tall, but posses the ostentatious egotistic attitude of a normal sized man. They are mean, cruel, and morally corrupt. Filled with greed and ingratitude they shoot at Gulliver with their small weapons that seem only to tickle Gulliver. After they notice that his not looking for trouble, they offer him food and grant him citizenship in their land. By making the Lilliputians small, powerful people, Swift satirizes the attitude of the English Government at the time.
To effectively satirize the politics of England, Swift uses various political parties to convey his message. In Lilliput, there are two political parties; The Trameckson—who are also known as the high heels, and the Slamecksan, who are also known as low heels. Swift uses the trameckson and the Slamecksan to "satirize two of the two most powerful English Parties." (Bullit) "The Tramecksan Party is mostly conservative and supports the ancient constitution of Lilliput." (Ewald) The emperor of Lilliput, however, favors the slamecksoan and allows only...

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