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

Swift's Satire on Women in "Gulliver's Travels"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Swift's Satire on Women in "Gulliver's Travels" Attacks on the fashionable vogues and vices of fop, fool, and coquette are common in social satires of different epochs. And as fashion and social trivialities are particularly associated with the world of women, women frequently became a fruitful subject of this kind of satire. In the Augustan Age Swift along with Addison, Pope and Gray satirized social vanity and affectation with emphasis on the weaknesses of women. But, Swift, in directing his satirical edge against/towards women, is more severe and moral condemnation is a distinctive feature of it. Swift's strong and unusual attachment to morality pursued him to treat women in his satire with much severity and it would be a mistake if we look upon him as misogynistic/ a misogynist. Swift does not lose the slightest opportunity in launching his satirical butt upon women. In Book-I, in Gulliver's short account of Lilliputian manner of writing, there comes a touch of satire upon English ladies when he says that the Lilliputians write in a peculiar manner "aslant from one corner of the paper to the other, like ladies in England." ...read more.

Middle

In this detailed description of the giant's body, Swift uses Gulliver's disgust at the sight of the skin of the Brobdingnagians to support that, we too are quite as disgusting physically as are these giants, who, after all, do not seem disgusting to each other. Thus, it is only pour pride that deludes us into thinking that we are beautiful: if we see our actual physical beauty, which is ugliness we find that our pride has weak foundations. Swift satirizes the ladies and their behavior in Gulliver's account of the sexual play of the Brobdingnagian Maids of Honor. Gulliver is a great favorite of the Maids of Honor of the Queen's court and one of their chief amusements is to strip the little man naked and lay him at full length on their breast, a practice, which disgusted him because of his extreme sensibility to the odors given off by even the cleanest Brobdingnagian flesh. He reflects that the most fastidious English ladies would smell as bad to a keen enough nose. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the Gulliver's conversation with the Master-Horse in Book-IV, Swift attacks the female frivolousness and laziness. Thus Gulliver tells the Houynhnm master that "this whole globe of earth must be at least three times gone round, before one of our better female Yahoos could get her breakfast on a cup to put it in." Again the characteristic proneness of female to dressing and make-up is satirized in the same book. Gulliver inform the Horse master that the dressing of a man is the culmination of "the workmanship of a hundred tradesmen" but the number increases when a lady is at the center of the case of dressing - "and five time (i.e., five hundred tradesmen), the number to adorn my wife." Swift is not a misogynist; he does not despise the womankind rather he is simply presenting a witty exposure of the dirty habits and lack of good sense of certain types of women of his time. He does not attack the whole female race, rather those who ate full of vanity relating their physical beauty. He shows, in effect, that our physical beauty or physicality is not such an exquisite thing as we are prone to think it to be; it id far from an attractive thing. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Jonathan Swift essays

  1. Comparing Animal Farm and Gulliver's Travels

    Napoleon was jealous of Snowball's ideas and when it looked like Snowball was winning over the animals, Napoleon ran him off the farm with his new army of dogs, the equivalent of Stalin's ruthless KGB. Snowball represented Leon Trotsky. At the beginning of the revolution, there was a struggle for power between Stalin and Trotsky.

  2. Gulliver's Travels. The saga of Lilliput is more fun and entertaining than that ...

    The result is that the inhabitants of the two islands go to international war over so minor an event as breaking an egg. We find this hilariously funny, thinking the Lilliputians and Blefuscudians stupid and petty to allow this incident to escalate so to such an extent.

  1. A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift How does Swift attempt to make his ...

    the only reason he is removing the love is to show the lack of humanity given to the Irish. The objective is to lessen the amounts of 'papists' which is an abusive and racist term given which plays on peoples prejudices of the Irish.

  2. What are the Objects of Swift's Satire in 'Gulliver's Travels' in the 'Voyages to ...

    their dexterity and the ministers that were the most entertaining would be chosen by the emperor to represent the state. Swift makes this sound like the equivalent of modern day elections. Swift felt that people in Britain got into the government by flattery, 'sucking' up to the prime minister.

  1. Gulliver's Travels - Dissention and Satire

    If he fails, he's out the door, and a successful rope-dancer takes his place. Gulliver remarks that it would seem that noble birth or a fine educational background would seem to be better predictors of one's ability to govern than dancing on a rope, but the Lilliputians find no sense in that.

  2. Swift's Satire Rewrite

    Similar to the Lilliputians, we experience some of the same issues in today's society. As stated above, our current President has initiated a war on unsound grounds. The words "War with Iraq" headline at least one article in every major newspaper everyday.

  1. Gulliver's Travels is a fine example of a satire in that there is bite ...

    end you break the egg at you always end up with the same result, this is aimed at Catholics and Protestants. Even though they believe the same thing they still manage to create conflict between themselves. While all of this is going on Swift still manages to keep a decent

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

    The flying island itself expresses not only the desertion on the common earth of reality but their conversion of the universe to a mechanism and of living to a mechanical process (Bloom, Interpretations 53). We can say that Laputa symbolizes the absurdity of knowledge that has never been tested or applied, the ludicrous side of Enlightenment intellectualism.

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