Pride and Arrogance in Gulliver's Travels

Topics: Usain Bolt, Gulliver's Travels, 2008 Summer Olympics Pages: 2 (722 words) Published: September 26, 2013
In Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s adventures and experiences satirize many aspects of human nature. Pride and arrogance are reoccurring themes that make up the most of Swift’s satire. While pride and arrogance is currently demonstrated by athletes such as Usain Bolt, it is also show by the characters in Gulliver’s Travels.

Politics earn Swift’s greatest critical disapprobation. Through his supposed character's observations, Swift levels an indifferent screed against the pettiness of politics and its degrading nature on the human spirit. He does this by focusing on the monarchy and parliaments of the nations he has created. During the voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag, Swift devotes whole passages explicating their political and social customs. These passages serve a satirical purpose by pointing out how petty and ridiculous politics can often be. For instance, in Lilliput, political parties are distinguished by the height of each party member's boot heels. The very serious matter of war is given to childish pettiness. The Lilliputians maintain a longstanding feud with the Blefuscians, neighbors from that "other great empire of the universe" (Swift 74) over how to properly crack an egg, which, for them, has achieved great ideological significance. The reader, for who the narrator acts as eyes and ears to the interesting universes he encounters, is meant to find these social and political customs silly. But there is serious business involved in these passages. Here Swift is satirizing European political values and the arrogance with which Europeans regard their particular form of authority and beliefs.

In Gulliver’s second voyage to Brobdingnag, Brobdingnag is occupied by giants who tower over the now miniature Gulliver. The reversal in size is symbolic, especially in light of how the king of Brobdingnag responds to Gulliver's discussions of European politics. Having heard enough from Gulliver, the king decides that "... [Europeans]...
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