The Houyhnhnms are depicted as deists in Gulliver’s travels, and Johnathan Swift criticizes the Deist through satire in the book. Swift’s disdain for the Deist Houyhnhnms reveals itself as the text progresses, and the critical eye he views the Houyhnhnms is a defense mechanism that Swift uses to cover his own insecurities he has in regards to Christianity versus Deism. Gulliver’s Ironic Observations on the Hounyhnhnms
“I was amazed to see such actions and behavior in brute beasts, and concluded with myself that, if the inhabitants of this country were endued with a proportional degree of reason, they must needs to be the wisest people upon earth.” (Swift 182) “I was at first at great loss for salt, but custom soon reconciled the want of it, and I am confident that the frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury…. For we observe no animal to be fond of it but man.” (Swift 188) “Upon the whole, the behavior of these animals was so orderly and so rational, so acute and judicious, that I at last concluded they must need be magicians who metamorphosed themselves upon themselves with him” (Swift 183) “In speaking, they pronounce through the nose and throat, and their language approaches nearest to the High Dutch, or German, of any I know in Europe, but is much more graceful and significant. The emperor Charles V made almost the same observation when he said that “If he were to speak to his horse, it should be in High Dutch”.” (Swift 189)
“I was much astonished to see the Houyhnhnms act like rational beings as he or his friends could be in finding some marks of reason in a creature he was pleased to call a Yahoo – to which I owned my resemblance in every part, but could not account for their degenerate and brutal nature.” (Swift 193) “The last seemed but ordinary cattle; however, this confirmed my first opinion that a people who could so far civilize brute animals must needs excel in wisdom all the nations of the world.” (Swift 185) “He replied that I...
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