• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"The chief object of satire in 'Gulliver's Travels' is Gulliver himself." Discuss.

Extracts from this document...


"The chief object of satire in 'Gulliver's Travels' is Gulliver himself." Discuss. Frequently, at the time of writing, literature was used as a political tool. It was used to send messages, make people think, and to make subversive criticism of monarchy, political parties, or religious factions. To do this effectively, the author uses much satire and irony throughout the novel. The whole of Gulliver's Travels is ironical. The Englishman in the strange land surrounded by miniature beings is no more than an outsider. In the first book, the reader sees themselves as one of these miniature beings. In the second book Gulliver is overwhelmingly human, with human weakness, distorting the truth, and human strengths, the positive oration. In the last book the situational satire moves beyond our feeling comfortable with it. In this book there is a complete transposition of horse and man. We see a civilisation that is pure and rational. Fraud, deceit, illness, or greet have not influenced it. Jonathan Swift writes of all social injustices and personal discomfort. Often the writing is with biting sarcasm but sometimes with violent explosions of anger, frequently with quiet ridicule. However he does this, the intention is the same and he urges the reader to really think about the effect of these views. The author intends that even the most far-fetched of his characters is meant to remind the reader of human weaknesses; lust, barbarism, pride and conceit. ...read more.


Gulliver himself plays a more prominent part in Books one and two. He is treated ceremoniously and with high regard by the Lilliputians, and with affection by the Brobdingnagians who regard him almost as an interesting pet. The high regard held by the Lilliputians is not seen in book three where the Laputans quite simply ignore him. The only interaction he has in book three is with the academics of Lagardo, and then only to demonstrate the magical understanding these people seem to have of life and logic. By book four, Gulliver is looked upon suspiciously, almost with disgust as he is regarded as a kind of Yahoo. Gulliver is portrayed as an honest, educated man determined to earn a living as a ship's surgeon at sea. He is philosophical about the adventures and mishaps he encounters. He faces the new and wonderful people with genuine interest and relays details refreshingly and without malice. It is Gulliver's attention to detail with gives the reader an insight into the wonderful worlds that Gulliver visits. We see, hear and experience through Gulliver's senses. It is this which helps us to decide very effectively about Gulliver's personality, his likes and dislikes, his joys and fears, his morality and political preferences. Gulliver has a sense of honour; he has left his family in order to provide for them. He is reminded of his oath to the Emperor and feels embarrassed when he is publicly displayed. ...read more.


Gulliver is used to deliver a technique or verbal irony. In Book one, we are told of the Emperor's qualities, all of which are the opposite of George's characteristics. In Book two Gulliver's praise of his country is overexaggerated, and therefore lacks credibility. Very often one seemingly credible paragraph is followed by another, which makes us reconsider what we have already read. This is a particular device in Book four which engages the reader to reflect upon what they have read. An example of this is when Gulliver explains what horses are used for in England, and in doing so, shocks the Houyhnhnms. Gulliver is also used to shock and embarrass the reader. Gulliver urinates and moves his bowels all in graphic detail. He describes his being stripped naked and riding upon one of the nipples of a Maid of Honour. He describes the texture of skin and obscene eating habits in magnified detail and culminates in a graphic portrayal of the yahoos. Swift makes us stop to reflect upon the unspoken natural moments of our lives which link us to animals more than we care to admit. Indeed most readers identify, as Gulliver did, with the Houyhnhnms. This must be the absolute irony, as irony is impossible in the Houyhnhnms' society because 'the thing which is not' is not meant as a deception. In book four the satirical ingredient is sarcasm and the grey 'master' frequently uses this. He describes the Yahoo as 'a sort of animal'. Adam Draper Gulliver - 'Chief Object of Satire' Mr Hanbidge 21st November 2002 6AM2 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Jonathan Swift section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Jonathan Swift essays

  1. Jonathan Swift the master of satire deeply cared for society and people. His desire ...

    In "A Modest Proposal" Swift compares children to roasting pigs, "Although I rather recommend buying the children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife as we do roasting pigs."

  2. Satire and Colonialism in the eighteenth century: 'A Modest Proposal' and 'Gulliver's Travels'

    This is showing how one group of people can hurt another. In Ireland it was more to do with money and laws. Swift is almost saying that it compares to violence.

  1. Write and essay on the methods and objectives of Swift's satire.

    is attacked.'1 The final book, Book Four gives the comment on the world. It is the Fourth book which has shocked Swift's readers most, with the contrast between the race of Yahoo and the race of Houyhnhnm. For many this representation of race is where his main thesis behind his novel lies.

  2. Human Nature in Gulliver's Travels

    Then there is the time when the master comments of Gulliver's species as using reason to "aggravate our natural Corruptions" and notes that we "[have] been very successful in multiplying our original Wants, and seemed to spend our whole Lives in vain Endeavours to supply them by our own Inventions".

  1. Consider Swift's presentation of two of the characters in 'Waterland' who you find most ...

    Later on we learn that Tom first took notice of her and her curiosity when they all get drunk next to the river and she manipulates them into first undressing then racing each other. It is then that she first becomes curious of Dick and his over-whelming physique.

  2. A Feminist Approach on Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver Travels"

    When Gulliver describes a grotesque vision of humanity in Brobdingnag, he generally uses women as the objects of repulsion. It is the Empress who eats in a grotesque fashion.

  1. Compare the persuasive techniques and the development of the argument in 'Old Major's speech' ...

    This is similar to Old Major's speech, where he begins by saying that he is similar to the other animals, and that he suffers the same things as them, but then he says that he has been lucky, and lived in luxury.

  2. Gulliver's Travels Essay

    have, as I was going to tell you, been engaged in a most obstinate war for six-and-thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion. It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before we eat them, was upon the larger end; but his present

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work