Gulliver's Travels: An Altered Perspective
Jonathan Swift's ultimate satirical masterpiece, Gulliver's Travels, scrutinizes human nature through a misanthropic eye. More directly, it examines the bastardization English society underwent. The brilliant tale depicts the journey of Lemuel Gulliver, an Englishman, and his distorted encounters. Examining the prominent political and social conflicts of England in the eighteenth century, Swift's critical work causes much controversy. Gulliver's Travels leads him to places of opposite environments and presents him with different opportunities. Through Gulliever's journey, Swift ridicules Gulliver as an individual character, and also as a product of England's social practices.
First, Gulliver travels to Lilliput, a land of miniature humans. The culture and society of the Lilliputians is very similar to that of Gulliver's home, England. However, in this undersized environment, Gulliver's outlook is altered. The Lilliputians actions seem trivial and insignificant. Because Gulliver is so incredibly large to this race, the emperor utilizes him as a monument. Gulliver explains, "He desired I would stand like a colossus with my legs as far asunder as I conveniently could. He then commanded
the troops in close order and march them under me." (p. 377) This grand celebration of thousands of horses, an army of toy troops, and flamboyant reverberations of color and sound all underneath Gulliver is a frivolous interpretation of the Lilliputians asserting their pride and buoying their national egos. Gulliver, in size, is superior to the Lilliputians; however, they still have complete control of him. The society of Gulliver, portrayed by Swift, becomes underdeveloped, stunted, and feeble.
Swift also criticizes many of political England's institutions through the actions of the Lilliputians. Several of the characters and their actions are reflections of those transpiring in England at the time. In one scene,...
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