Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” Jonathan Swift was without a shadow of doubt a great pacifist, satirist, and moralist. Mainly through pamphletism, he criticized imperialism and war with ferocity. Gullivers Travels, first published in 1726, can be seen as Swifts ultimate pacifist pamphlet, summing up his views concerning moral and sociopolitical justice. Although Gullivers Travels is cherished as a childrens book it has triggered an ardent debate among philosophers, political scientists and literary critics. For instance, part four A voyage to the country of the Houyhnhnms was, for a long time, regarded by literary critics as the writings of an immoral, misanthropic, and obscene monster. According to Clubb, this view derives from a too literal interpretation of the allegory and from the common fallacy that Gullivers opinions reflect Swifts. Indeed, the first key to understanding Gullivers Travels is to discriminate Swifts moral and political outlook from Captain Gullivers accounts. For instance, the latter sees the Houyhnhnms as ideal beings who are governed by the principles of reason and truth, and are completely ignorant of the evils of controversy, dispute, and falsehood. In contrast, Swift seems to indicate that it should be rather dull and stifling to live in the utopic society of the Houyhnhnms.
In this respect, the wise, but still human, Brobdingnagians introduced in part two of Gullivers Travels are more likely to represent Swifts ideal beings. This interpretation conforms to the reading provided by misanthropology. Misanthropology is named after the study of the cussedness of human nature and aims to investigate all sorts of human vices. In particular, misanthropy is viewed as the typical position of a disillusioned Utopian, whose former faith takes the form of unremitting contempt. According to Morson, Gulliver is clearly an Utopian who becomes disillusioned and eventually misanthropic. The visit to the land of the Brobdingnags teaches Gulliver to appreciate the physical and moral deformity of human beings. The king exposes the cultural misanthropology to Gulliver, whereas the countrys most beautiful women teach him its physical facet for being filthy and repulsive due to their size.
To generations of schoolchildren, Gulliver s Travels has been a delightful visit to a faraway fantasy kingdom. Upon a closer look, Gulliver s Travels is found to be a potentially critical and very insightful piece, satirizing the political and social systems of eighteenth-century England. During the eighteenth-century there was an upheaval of commercialization in London, England, resulting in a ...
However, Gullivers experience in Houyhnhnmland impedes him from drawing the right lesson from cultural and physical misanthropology. The close connection of his Utopianism with his misanthropy is also clear in the letter to the editor. Gulliver complains that neither his accounts nor his social prescriptions produce any improvement in British society. Accordingly, Morson views Gullivers Travels as both misanthropic and a satire on misanthropy, for Swift demonstrates that he despises humanity for such vices as misanthropy (Morson, 56).
Gullivers Travels is above all the ultimate political writing of Swift, and so it abounds in sarcasm. Swifts assault upon lawyers was aimed at the rhetoric of the profession. Gulliver’s Travels describes lawyers as individuals that are trained in the art of providing words for supporting and justifying any statement (or situation) according to the interest of their clients.
In fact, the appreciation of Swift seems close to Platos view that rhetoric is mainly bad. Plato despised the amoral lawyers world in which, for every statement, there is a plausible counter-argument by which a lawyer can hope to improve his case. This gift of producing opposing arguments is known as invention” in the lexicon of rhetoric and it is exactly this component of rhetoric that troubles people in general. First, my lawyer, being practiced almost from his cradle in defending falsehood, is quite out of his element when he would be an advocate for justice, which as an office unnatural, he always attempts with great awkwardness, if not with ill-will The first case is to gain over my adversarys lawyer with a double fee, who will then betray his client by insinuating that he hath justice on his side. The second way is for my lawyer to make my cause appear as unjust as he can and this if it skillfully done will certainly bespeak the favour of the Bench (Case, 295).
Gulliver's Travels 2 GulliverGulliver's Travels 2 Essay, Research Paper Gulliver s Travels, by Jonathan Swift, is regarded as one of the greatest satires in modern history. The purpose of the book, although some of his contemporaries didn t realize it, is to ridicule his government, his rulers, and human nature as a whole. His generalization of the human condition doesn t manifest itself ...
At first sight, part one of Gullivers Travels seems to be a fairy tale about a giant dwelling with midgets.
However, it contains clear innuendoes about the politics of the reign of Queen Anne, such as the feud between England and France. Furthermore, a flavor of Swifts ideal model of justice is hinted at when Gulliver describes the laws and customs of Lilliput. Gullivers Travels is neither the first nor the last literary work to discuss and stigmatize the legal system. In fact, Posner examines the legal contents in other classics such as William Shakespeares The Merchant of Venice, Fyodor Dostoyevskys The Brothers Karamazov, and Franz Kafkas The Trial. Capital punishment is recommended to fraudulent individuals because honest people are defenseless against fraud, whereas prudence and care suffice to mitigate the likelihood of thefts. Nonetheless, the Lilliputian justice is equally disposed to reward and to punish: a citizen can claim, among other privileges, a financial reward and the status of Snilpall if he is able to provide enough evidence that he has been strictly lawful during the last 73 moons. Note that when an individual is accused of some crime, the conventional notion of fairness in a trial implies that the defendant is considered innocent until proven otherwise. Nonetheless, the burden of proof is inverted when a citizen claims the title of “Snilpall” for he is assumed guilty until proven otherwise.
A shift in the burden of proof from plaintiff (in this case, the state) to defendant (the citizen claiming the status) presumably increases the likelihood of denying the reward to a lawful citizen, but decreases the probability of rewarding unlawful citizens. Part two of Gullivers Travels, A voyage to Brobdingnag, reverses the situation presented in part one, where Gulliver was 12 times the size of a Lilliputian. The Brobdingnagians are giants who are exactly 12 times bigger than Gulliver. The change of perspective is precise and mathematically performed by Swift to strip European pride, arrogance, and imposture. Gulliver, the mighty mountain-man of Lilliput, is reduced to a cute and fragile toy in Brobdingnag. Swift seems to propose Brobdingnag as an ideal state due to its wise maxims in morality and government. The kind-hearted Brobdingnagians are still subject to err, but they appear less inclined to corruption and other acts of evil. Swifts views concerning an ideal state become clear when the king of Brobdingnag confines the art of governing to common sense and reason, to justice and tolerance, and to the prompt resolution of civil and criminal causes. Furthermore, Swift ironically discloses the ignorance of Gulliver who criticizes the kings opinion by saying that the king is unable to reduce politics to an exact science. It shows clearly Swifts concern with the tendency of some political scientists to apply indiscriminately methods from other sciences, that is, to commit a scientism (Hayek, 75).
Gulliver's Travels Coursework - From your study of Gulliver's Travels. Show how Swift Uses Language for Satiric Purpose, to 'lash the vice' he Finds in the World. Gulliver's Travels may have been seen as an adventure story by a few misguided individuals, but it is a satirical novel. Swift wrote the book in order to allow people to understand the overall tribulations that were in the British ...
The attack on the corrupted behavior of politicians is in the same tone. Swifts venom is explicitly directed to politicians when Gulliver describes the ingenious propositions of a political scientist at the Academy of Lagado. After discussing the need for monitoring the mental health of politicians and the way to prevent politicians from forgetting their promises, the same professor proposes the following mechanism for the great council of a nation. He likewise directed, that every senator in the great council of a nation, after he had delivered his opinion, and argued in the defense of it, should be obliged to give his vote directly contrary; because if that were done, the result would infallibly terminate in the good of the public (Bloom, 234).
Corruption and the hypocrisy of politicians are mentioned once again when Gulliver is discussing with his master Houyhnhnm about the nature of government and the character of the minister of state. Swifts description of the chief minister is clearly a poised allusion to Sir Robert Walpoles great ability in parliamentary tactics and political intrigues: The chief minister of state applies his words to all uses, except to the indication of his mind; that he never tells a truth, but with an intent that you should take it for a lie; nor a lie, but with a design that you should take it for a truth; that those he speaks worst of behind their backs are in the surest way to preferment; and whenever he begins to praise you to others or to yourself, you are from that day forlorn (Bloom 302).
Gulliver's Travels Swift's Gulliver " sGulliver's Travels Essay, Research Paper Swift's Gulliver's Travels is without question the most famous literature to emerge from this 18 th century Tory satiric tradition. It is the strongest, funniest, and yet in some ways most despairing cry for a halt to the trends initiated by seventeenth-century philosophy. In Book IV, we discover how Gulliver's journey ...
Perhaps, Swifts most impressive account relates to the cruel process of colonization. The lucidity of his account is awesome.
A crew of pirates is driven by chance to some unknown coast, where they land to maraud and sack. Given the harmless nature of the natives, they name the country, take formal possession of it for the king, and erect a sort of memorial to mark their discovery. With the king’s pardon in their minds, the pirates force some natives to come along with them as a sample when returning home. Evidently, this process can be bloody and can result in dozens of murdered natives. Nonetheless, the incorporation of this new dominion to the kingdom is seen as a matter of divine right. Then, ships are sent to subdue and enslave the natives, and collect their gold.
Most ironically, all acts of inhumanity are committed under the presumption of converting and civilizing the barbarous natives. However, after rebuking the imperialism, Swift ironically exempts England of perpetrating these atrocities: But this description, I confess, doth by no means affect the British nation, who may be an example to the whole world for their wisdom, care, and justice in planting colonies (Bloom, 344).
Bibliography Clubb, M.D. The criticism of Gullivers Voyage to the Houyhnhnms, 1726-1914, in Craig. H. (Ed.), Stanford Studies in Language and Literature, Ayer Company Publishers, North Stratford, NH, 1941 Morson, G.S.
Misanthropology, New Literary History, Vol. 27, 1996 Posner, R.A. Law and Literature: A Misunderstood Relation, Harvard University Press, Boston, MA, 1988 Hayek, F. The pretense of knowledge, Les Prix Nobel en 1974, Nobel Foundation, Stockholm, 1975 Case, A.E. Four Essays on Gullivers Travels, Peter Smith, 1945 Bloom, H. Modern Critical Interpretations: Gullivers Travels, Chelsea House Publishers, Broomall, PA, 1993.