Gulliver essays

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Gulliver essays

Gulliver’s Travels is political satire in the form of an adventure novel. Swift creates several fantasy worlds to which his character, Lemuel Gulliver, travels, and where he learns that English institutions, such as the government and social structure, are not necessarily ideal. Although in its abridged form Gulliver’s Travels (1726) is known as a classic children’s adventure story, it is actually a biting work of political and social satire by an Anglican priest, historian, and political commentator. Anglo-Irish author Jonathan Swift parodied popular travelogues of his day in creating this story of a sea-loving physician’s travels to imaginary foreign lands. Structurally, the book is divided into four separate adventures, or travels, which Dr. Lemuel Gulliver undertakes by accident when his vessel is shipwrecked or taken over by pirates. In these fantastic tales, Swift satirizes the political events in England and Ireland in his day, as well as English values and institutions. He ridicules academics, scientists, and Enlightenment thinkers who value rationalism above all else, and finally, he targets the human condition itself.
Swift subscribed to the pre-Enlightenment, Protestant idea that man is by nature sinful, having fallen from perfection in the Garden of Eden. While man is a rational animal, his rationality is not always used for good. Therefore, one should not hold up rationality as the greatest human quality, as many Enlightenment thinkers did. It is the human condition, Swift felt, to sin: to be deceitful, cruel, selfish, materialistic, vain, foolish, and otherwise flawed.
In Gulliver's Travels, after a mutiny ends up in the land of the Houyhnhnms were the horses are governed totally by reason. They have created a society that is perfectly ordered, perfectly peaceful except for the Yahoos, and exempt from the topsy-turviness of passion. The Yahoos are humans, but are so bestial that they are human only in outward ap