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Use Of Satirical Techniques In Swift's Gulliver's Travels

1231 words - 5 pages

Use of Satirical Techniques in Swift's Gulliver's Travels

Swift is a master of satirical writing, and his use of satirical
technique in Gulliver's Travels is of a deep and intense nature. In
each mysterious island he visits, there is a subtle attack on European
nature, and the way the people of his time lived and acted. Gulliver's
Travels was written to expose and open up the cracks in the society of
his time. Each island he visits has no knowledge of Europe at all, and
this further enhances the shock and dismay by the people and creatures
he meets. It is a satirical technique used so the characters can
amplify there emotions, thus creating a more shocking experience and
reaction.

Gulliver was the leader of a ship with an array of foreign crew
because of heavy losses to his original crew. His ship crashes and he
is finally cast upon the land of Lilliput. He falls to sleep due to
sheer exhaustion and wakes up later, tied up. As he opens his eyes he
see's the inhabitants of Lilliput, the Lilliputians. With their six
inch stature he is shocked and confused to whom these species could
be. A short while later he is released and talks to the king of
Lilliput. Sadly the tiny size of the inhabitants makes everything
about them, such as concerns, and beliefs seem so irrelevant and
pathetic. This is actually a subtle attack on the way Europeans
quarrel, and how a poor government system is in place. The
Lilliputians select spokesmen and men of power by jumping over a pole.
They are also in a war over which side an egg should be eaten from.
This depicts the way that men of power are selected in England and the
pathetic reasons for war those men tell people. Swift is trying to
publicise England's downfalls and mistakes by showing the small
Lilliputians in a light which is really what Swift thinks of England.

Gulliver leaves Lillput and after a long period of travelling finds
himself in Brobdingnag, an almost utopian society, which has no
inadequacies and all the inhabitants have adequate food and good pay.
The ironice problem being that he was the small one with the
inhabitants of Brobdingnag being giants!The contrast between
Brobdingnag and Europe is huge, and this portrays the faults of Europe
in a much greater way. Gulliver proudly boasts about Europe naively,
describing the House of Commons (at the time very corrupt) and its
members to have a "great ability and love of their country" with the
"wisdom of the whole nation." This satire is used in a sarcastic way,
seeing as the politicians of the time were extremely corrupt and
conveniently voted. However the kings' response was of a surprising
nature to Gulliver, "a stranger with a strong purse might not
influence the vulgar voter." Gulliver is puzzled by the kings'
reactions and cannot see his on naivety. Swift is clearly showing
...

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