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How Gulliver's Travels Satirises the Politics of Swift's Time.

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Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels was written during an era of change known as the Restauration Period. The way this book is written suggests some of the political themes from that time period, including the well-known satire. These themes are displayed throughout Gulliver's Travels, and even sometimes reflect upon today's society. While Swift was writing ?Gulliver's Travels?in the 1720s, England was undergoing a lot of political shuffling. George I, a Hanoverian prince of Germany, had ascended the British throne in 1714 after the death of Queen Anne ended the Stuart line. Although he was not a bad or repressive king, he was unpopular. King George had gained his throne with the assistance of the Whig party, and his Whig ministers subsequently used their considerable gains in power to oppress members of the opposition Tory party. Swift had been a Tory since 1710, and bitterly resented the Whig actions against his friends, who often faced exile or worse. Understanding how events in Europe and England led to this political rivalry can help the reader of Swift's novel better understand his satire. Written in four parts, it describes the travels of Lemuel Gulliver to Lilliput, a land inhabited by tiny people whose size renders all their pompous activities absurd; to Brogdinnags, a land of wandering giants who are amused when Gulliver tells ...read more.


could entertain such inhuman ideas, and in so familiar a manner as to appear wholly unmoved at all the scenes of blood and desolation, which I had painted as the common effects of those destructive machines, whereof he said some evil genius, enemy to mankind, must have been the first contriver.? (Swift, Gulliver's Travels). Here, Swift is not only satirizing the "wisdom" of weapons of war, but of the deep feelings Gulliver has for his country. As we've mentioned before, Gulliver symbolizes the pride of the English citizens, which is reflected in this second book as Gulliver attempts to keep his European pride. Unfortunately, this begins to make him look more like a fool. As the book progresses he is blinded by his pride and his refusal to see things from other points of view becomes his downfall. When confronted with the good king's opinions which are opposite to his, he simply recognizes them as the cause of the good king's closed-mindedness, not realizing that it is his very own closed-mindedness which doesn't allow him to recognize the good king's opinions. In the third book Gulliver is confronted with a society that values abstract ideas above common sense. This voyage is one of the most satirical of the whole book. ...read more.


This government is very closed-minded and this can be observed in their treatment of the different breeds. It is impossible for a horse of a particular colour to advance through the ranks, since the concept of advancement does not exist. The head horses will always rule, no matter how cunning or wise a minor horse may become. That is because the society has already made up their minds. The Houyhnhnms are unwilling to accept something that is different from them, showing ignorance by doing so. The Houyhnhnms have no names in the narrative nor any need for names. That is because they are virtually interchangeable and have little or no individual identity. They lead lives which seem happy and harmonious, although quite lacking in vigor, challenge and excitement. This apparent comfort may be why the author chooses to make them horses rather than human types like every other group in the rest of the book. He may be hinting that they should not be considered human ideals at all. In conclusion, in his novel, Jonathan Swift travels through Gulliver through four different countries, each representing a corrupt part of England. Swift criticizes the corruption of these parts through his satire, and focuses on government, society, science and man. He also mocks the naïve man who is unable to figure out the double meaning of things. Gulliver's gullibility symbolizes the irony of the English system. ...read more.

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