This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Enduring Wisdom In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels And Alexander Pope's An Essay On Man

1742 words - 7 pages

The Enduring Wisdom in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man

If learned men of a past era came to this present age of technological advance, modern man might be surprised at the observations these humans of yesterday would make. Over three centuries ago, two such men -- Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope -- made observations concerning their own time which have interesting insights to today's world. One thing Jonathan Swift might choose to expound upon is the institution of political democracy. In Gulliver's Travels, he comments, "That all true believers shall break their eggs at the convenient end: and which is the convenient end, seems, in my humble opinion, to be left to every man's conscience, or at least in the power of the chief magistrate to determine." So although he believes that every man has the right to choose his own "end" -- religion -- he also accepts the authority of the "chief magistrate" -- the king -- to determine a state-wide religion. This idea is hardly acceptable to democracy advocates today. Alexander Pope, in his "An Essay on Man," propounds the "Great Chain of Being" theory of existence and order:

Vast Chain of Being! which from God began,
Natures ethereal, human, angel, man,
Beast, bird, fish, insect, what no eye can see,
No glass can reach! from Infinite to thee,
(EM 1102)

Know thy own point: this kind, this due degree
Of blindness, weakness, Heaven bestows on thee.
(EM 1103)

In this "Great Chain of Being", every creature and thing occupies a place -- it seems reasonable to assume that since there exists more than one "link" in the human spectrum, that different humans occupy different social positions. Kings, for example, might be born into authority. Although modern democracy says this is an evil system, it provides stability and continuity to a precarious culture. Pope also accepts the idea of "God" as ruler of all, and throughout "An Essay on Man" presents "God" as all-knowing and all-powerful -- acting considerably more like a king than an elected official.

Pope's "An Essay on Criticism" presents some interesting ideas when applied to the modern infatuation with science-fiction. He believes that "good" writing uses well-established rules; it follows the path of successful writers of the past. Pope heeds his own advice regarding rules in "The Rape of the Lock" as well as his other pieces: "The Rape of the Lock" is written in the epic style previously used by Homer, Virgil, Milton, and other various poets of ancient times; "An Essay on Criticism" is written in the form of the heroic couplet -- a fitting form for an essay on literary rules. The science-fiction genre does not fit very well with Pope's literary theory on established rules. Modern science-fiction writers and editors place the beginning of their genre with Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, who both wrote during the end of the nineteenth century: hardly...

Find Another Essay On The Enduring Wisdom in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man

Satirical Patterns in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

948 words - 4 pages Gulliver’s Travels:  Satirical Patterns       Jonathan Swift wrote a novel in 1776 called Gulliver’s Travels.  This novel along with all of his other writing followed a satirical pattern.  Because of Swift’s vast knowledge in politics he was capable of creating a masterpiece completely ridiculing the government found in England.  In Gulliver’s Travels, Swift brings us, the readers, to join him on journeys to worlds of complete nonsense

The Use of Satire in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

797 words - 3 pages Jonathan Swift's story, Gulliver's Travels is very complex, with several layers of meaning. He is a master satirist, and Gulliver's Travels is both humorous and critical. He critiques almost every aspect of life, from the writings of his times to the politics. He also satirizes more encompassing topics that are still relevant today, such as the human condition, and the desire for overcoming inferior instincts.The first satire we see in the story

Civil Laws and Religious Authority in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1270 words - 5 pages silly egg law, points to huge ideas that affect every society. When Gulliver first awakes in Lilliput country, Swift has him strapped down staring at the sky, in a new land, with a new language, with new laws.  Swift, in a sense, straps us all down, to teach us about new perspectives and the importance of tolerance.  In Swift's inverted world, he parallels the Lilliputian conflict with the protestant reformation, argues for toleration of religious viewpoints and to not war over them, and instructs all lawmakers to be wary of creating laws that contradict religious teachings. Works Cited: Swift, Jonathan. Gulliver's Travels. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1959.

A Nontraditional Hero in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1004 words - 4 pages In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, the narrator shows the reader meeting many different characters, from the tiny people to the talking horses. Gulliver reveals through his adventures what kind of a character he is. He is a likeable, amusing and interesting person, but he lacks what could be classified as a hero – in the traditional sense. Seeing him as a hero is difficult because he resembles an anti-hero more. In some ways, Gulliver is

Voltaire's "Candide" and Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels": vehicles for satire

781 words - 3 pages Throughout Voltaire's Candide and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, the main characters of the works (Candide and Gulliver respectively) serve as vehicles for satire through which the authors can convey their views. It is important to note that both Candide and Gulliver serve as irons throughout the book; that is to say, the reader is shown irony through the actions of these characters, while at the same time the characters are naïve and

Alexander Pope's Essay on Man

512 words - 2 pages Alexander Pope's Essay on Man - Man is Never Satisfied Alexander Pope's Essay on Man is a philosophical poem, written, characteristically in heroic couplet. It is an attempt to justify and vindicate the ways of God to man. It’s also a warning that man himself is not as in his pride, he seems to believe the center of all things. Eventhough not truly Christian, the essay makes implicit assumption that man has fallen and that he must

Jonathan Swift - Gulliver's Travels Too Good to be True: Interpretation of Swift's Idealism and the Houyhnhms

1381 words - 6 pages This paper deals with the depiction of my conception of Swift’s idealism in the 4th part of the Gulliver's Travels (A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms) concerning Gulliver’s confrontation with the social and political structure of the Houhnhnms and subsequently his expulsion. This portrayal is then dismantled, analyzed and a certain number of interpretations is achieved to show whether there is a concealed satire by chance due

Analysis of Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man

959 words - 4 pages Analysis of Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man   There are three main issues that Pope talks about in his long poem "An Essay on Man." First, the poet evokes a timeless vision of humanity in which the universe is connected to a great chain that extends from God to the tiniest form of life. Secondly, Pope discusses God's plan in which evil must exist for the sake of the greater good, a paradox not fully understandable by human reason. Thirdly

Johnathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1930 words - 8 pages 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

Gulliver's Travels: Swift's Opinions Of The English

958 words - 4 pages classic piece of literature Gulliver's Travels . The many humorous stories in Gulliver's Travels have appealed to audiences of all ages since the book was written in the early eighteenth century by Jonathan Swift, a political writer (xvii).      Gulliver's Travels is written as Lemuel Gulliver's account of his voyages to the strange lands of Lilliput, Brobdingnag, the kingdom of Laputa, and the land of the Houyhnhnms. Swift's opinions on the

The Possibilities of Utopias in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

734 words - 3 pages comparable to English society, their miniscule size being the only difference. The Lilliputians in Gulliver’s Travels are comparable with England as Gulliver observes the insignificance of certain proceedings that appear to become important in politics and society. This portrayal of Lilliput and their society provides an example on how an English utopia could be realized, most notably in terms of politics and law. The English monarchy in Swift’s period

Similar Essays

Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels Essay

1664 words - 7 pages Although Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift has long been thought of as a children's story, it is actually a dark satire on the fallacies of human nature. The four parts of the book are arranged in a planned sequence, to show Gulliver's optimism and lack of shame with the Lilliputians, decaying into his shame and disgust with humans when he is in the land of the Houyhnhmns. The Brobdingnagians are more hospitable than the Lilliputians, but

Term "Paper On Gulliver's Travels" Jonathan Swift's

1343 words - 5 pages Many of the critics who have critiqued Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels have used the word extraneous more then once. Swift was viewed as an insane person who was a failure in life. But this is far from the truth. Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels, a book that has been assigned to students for years, and it is written from experience. Swift's experience with the Tories and their conflicts with the Whigs caused him to write books that mock

English Society And Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1247 words - 5 pages it posseses. * Gravil, Richard ed. Gulliver's Travels: A Case Book. London: The Macmillan Press LTD, 1974. As the title indicates, this book is a casebook or a collection of pertinent essays concerning the scholarship of Gulliver's Travels. * Rowse, A. L. Jonathan Swift: Major Prophet. London: Thames and Hudson, 1975. This book is a biography of Swift's life and relations. * Ward, David. Jonathan Swift: An Introductory Essay. London: Methuen & Co Ltd, 1973. This book contains Ward's critical thinking concerning many works of Jonathan Swift, including Gulliver's Travels. * Gulliver's Travels - Home Page  

Seminar Paper On Issues Mocked In Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1484 words - 6 pages Gulliver's urination intends to prevent a disaster, its also an assertion of his ability to control the Lilliputians in any way he likes, even by the simplest and most profane actions. Swift uses this sequence of problems to show a personal issue in his life. Swift was a man known for his uncleanness. By pointing this out in his story, mocks his critics. Swift's urination scene ridicules this view, giving a satire within a satire.In chapter eight we