The following entry presents criticism of Swift's Gulliver's Travels. See also, A Modest Proposal Criticism. Swift's greatest satire, Gulliver's Travels, is considered one of the most important works in the history of world literature. The general theme of Gulliver's Travels is a satirical examination of human nature, man's potential for depravity, and the dangers of the misuse of reason.
See also, A Modest Proposal Criticism. Throughout the volume Swift attacked the baseness of humankind even as he suggested the greatest virtues of the human race; he also attacked the folly of human learning and political systems even as he implied the proper functions of art, science, and government.
They also planned a satire called The Memoirs of a Martinus Scriblerus, which was to include several imaginary voyages. After being shipwrecked Gulliver first arrives at Lilliput, an island whose inhabitants are just six inches tall and where the pettiness of the political system is mirrored in the diminutive size of its citizens.
Gulliver is referred to as the "Man-Mountain" by the Lilliputians and is eventually pressed into service by the King in a nonsensical war with the neighboring island of Blefuscu. Gulliver finally escapes Lilliput and returns briefly to England before a second voyage takes him to Brobdingnag.
There he finds himself dwarfed by inhabitants who are sixty feet tall.
Get ready to write your paper on Gulliver’s Travels with our suggested essay topics, sample essays, and more. How to Write Literary Analysis Suggested Essay Topics. Everything you need to know about symbolism, imagery, and allegory in Gulliver's Travels, written by experts just for you. Learn about themes from Gulliver's Travels. This Study Guide consists of approximately 58 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Gulliver's Travels.
Gulliver, however, incurs the disdain of the kindly and virtuous Brobdingnagian rulers when his gunpowder display, intended to impress his hosts as an exemplary product of European civilization, proves disastrous. An address Gulliver delivers to the Brobdingnagians describing English political practices of the day is also met with much scorn.
Housed in a miniature box, Gulliver abruptly departs Brobdingnag when a giant eagle flies off with him and drops him in the ocean. He soon embarks on his third voyage to the flying island of Laputa, a mysterious land inhabited by scientists, magicians, and sorcerers who engage in abstract theorizing and conduct ill-advised experiments based on flawed calculations.
Here Gulliver also visits Glubbdubdrib where it is possible to summon the dead and to converse with such figures as Aristotle and Julius Caesar.
He also travels to Luggnagg, where he encounters the Struldbrugs, a group of people who are given immortality, yet are condemned to live out their eternal existence trapped in feeble and decrepit bodies.
Once again Gulliver returns to England before a final journey, to the land of the Houyhnhnms, who are a superior race of intelligent horses. But the region is also home to the Yahoos, a vile and depraved race of ape-like creatures.
Gulliver is eventually exiled from Houyhnhnm society when the horses gently insist that Gulliver must return to live among his own kind. After this fourth and final voyage, he returns to England, where he has great difficulty adjusting to everyday life.
All people everywhere remind him of the Yahoos.
The first voyage has been interpreted as an allegorical satire of the political events of the early eighteenth century, a commentary on the moral state of England, a general satire on the pettiness of human desires for wealth and power, and a depiction of the effects of unwarranted pride and self-promotion.
Another critical position considers both the Houyhnhnms and Yahoos to be the subject of satire, with the Yahoos representing the physical baseness of humans and the Houyhnhnms representing the fatuousness of the idea that humans will ever achieve a rationally-ordered existence.
The ultimate satiric intent of the work to critics who accept this interpretation is that the only truly rational or enlightened beings in existence are not humans, but another species altogether. Since the s, however, a variety of critics have tempered these readings by illuminating the complexity of purpose in the fourth voyage.
The Houyhnhnms and Yahoos are now most often discussed as both satiric objects and representatives of the duality of human nature. The nature of Gulliver is another much-debated element of the Travels. Early critics generally viewed him as the mouthpiece of Swift.
This debate over the nature of Gulliver is important because critics seek to determine whether Gulliver is intended to be a man with definite character traits who undergoes a transformation, or an allegorical representative of humanity.
In general, Gulliver is now considered a flexible persona manipulated by Swift to present a diversity of views or satirical situations and to indicate the complexity, the ultimate indefinability, of human nature.
Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century critics of Swift were primarily interested in aspects of his character, although a few did actually discuss the meaning and merits of his work at length.
A master of simple yet vividly descriptive prose and of a style so direct that if often masks the complexity of his irony, Swift is praised for his ability to craft his satires entirely through the eyes of a created persona. He is now regarded as a complex though not mysterious man who created works of art which will permit no single interpretation.
The massive amount of criticism devoted to Swift each year reflects his continued literary importance: Eddy essay date Literary Criticism Gulliver's Travels was the work of a writer who had been using satire as his medium for over a quarter of a century.
His life was one of continual disappointment, and satire was his complaint and his defense — against his enemies and against humankind. A summary of Symbols in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver’s Travels. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Gulliver’s Travels and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. Gulliver's Travels was unique in its day; it was not written to woo or entertain. It was an indictment, and it was most popular among those who were indicted — that is, politicians, scientists, philosophers, and Englishmen in general.
Swift was roasting people, and they were eager for the banquet. Use of Irony, Ambiguity and Symbolism, in Gulliver's Travels Although it appears simple and straightforward on the surface, a mere. Gulliver’s adventures, it seems, always come at a high price.
Human Pettiness It is widely known that Gulliver’s Travels satirizes the European government (specifically England and France) and religion. - Literary Analysis Paper Essay on Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift Past the political satire and laughable motifs in the book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, the purpose of this story is to show everything ignoble and tactless of the human species in general and that humans are truly disgusting.