Gulliver's Travels Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Gulliver's Travels

According to Gulliver, "Undoubtably philosophers are right when they tell us that nothing is great or small than by comparison." In the novel, Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift tackles many of the contemporary issues of his day. His portrayal of English society alludes to the fact that he perceived many evils in the structure of society. Swift focuses his perspective on five primary issues throughout his book: war, government and politics, economy, society, and mankind as a whole. AS a result of his insightful perspective into the fabric of society, Gulliver's Travels, is regarded by many as being one of the greatest satires in modern history.

Many argue that it was Swift's intention is to ridicule his government, his rulers, and human nature as a whole. However, this point is arguable to say the least. In Part IV of his book, Swift provides illustrations of the two poles of the human...
...He encounters the Houyhnhnms who are horse-like animals and the Yahoos who are more human-like. The Houyhnhnms are intelligent, noble creatures governed wholly by reason, and the Yahoos are naked, dirty humanoids that seem at best, barbaric creatures. Although there are faults to be found in each species, it is almost as Swift is trying to provide an illustration of the extremes of humanity so that people can understand the dichotomy possible in human nature.


One of Swift's favorite focal points is the absurdity of war. This is illustrated by the Lilliputians who uncover the idiotic nature of war in any society. The Little-Ender and Big-Ender war began because of an argument that manifest about the correct way to break an egg. The war persisted and the cause of the war in its origin was never the focus. Rather, once the battle lines are drawn, no matter why the tensions were created, there is a part of human nature that simply adapts to the situation around them without attempting to decipher the situation on their own. The people engaged in the war simply assumed that the war must have had a good cause because of the momentum that had been built around it. No one stops to question the basis for the war in the beginning. With some exceptions, there are many parallels that can be drawn to events in the contemporary period.

Many of the portrayals are undoubtedly motivated by the social, political, and economic events of Swift's time. Gulliver himself even showed the absurdity of war when he explained the reasons that England would go to war with Mistress or the Queen of Brobdingnag. The justifications for the war were purely motivated by the acquisition of more resources, in this case land. Many people have speculated that this clearly shows Swift's sympathy for Ireland at what they were dealing with during his period in history. Again, societies lust for various resources has been a theme that seems to be inherent in almost every society -- even in the modern age. Despite international laws, ethics, and human…

Cite This Essay:

"Gulliver's Travels" (2014, February 27) Retrieved February 24, 2021, from

"Gulliver's Travels" 27 February 2014. Web.24 February. 2021. <>

"Gulliver's Travels", 27 February 2014, Accessed.24 February. 2021,