Lamuel Gulliver Essay, Research Paper
Jonathan Swift is one of the best known satirists in the history of literature. When one reads his works, especially something like Gulliver s Travels, it is easy for one to spot the misanthropic themes, which emerge within his characterization. Lamuel Gulliver is an excellent protagonist: a keen observer, and a good representative of his native England, but one who loses faith in mankind as his story progresses. He ends up in remote areas of the world all by accidents in his voyages. In each trip, he is shipwrecked and mysteriously arrives to lands never before seen by men. This forms an interesting rhythm in the novel: as Gulliver is given more and more responsibility, he tends to be less and less in control.
In his encounter with the Lilliputians, Gulliver shows himself to be kind, honorable, and generous. Despite the Lilliputians are prideful, greedy, and cruel in response to him; he always manages to be peaceful with them. For example, when the Lilliputians and the people of Blefuscu (the British and the French in reality) go to war, Gulliver ties a knot to each of the Blefuscan ships and brings them together to the Lilliputian king. Then both of the countries negotiate and settle peace. Thus, Gulliver stops the friction between the two countries and establishes everlasting peace. This marks a characteristic of wisdom within Gulliver and the apple on his shield signifies this quality.
We must always take into account that this novel was written at a time when England was a world power that was dominant in remote parts of the world, such as India, the Caribbean, and America. Gulliver is a good representative of England, but one who loses faith in mankind as the story progresses. The visit to Brobdingnag accounts for most of this misery, where he attempts to preserve his dignity as an English man. Gulliver becomes exactly the controversial figure of what he was in Lilliput. In this case, the Brobdingnagians remain peaceful with him, yet he is prideful. The flag of Gulliver s homeland, England, on the coat of arms illustrates pride.
Yet due to his pride for his native England, in the country of the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver is gradually driven mad by his realization that he can never hope to achieve the state of existence of the supremely rational, noble Houyhnhnms. Even though the Houyhnhnms consider Gulliver to be noble, Gulliver is constantly offended when he sees a disturbing resemblance between himself and the barbaric Yahoos. He falls to the same sin of pride that he condemned in the others in previous voyages. He is disgusted that the members of his own human race are living a filthy lifestyle such as the animals of England, and this makes him eager to return to home, where he thinks things are normal. Therefore, a rat ready to enter its hole represents Gulliver forced to return to England because of his fear that he will eventually turn barbaric.
The essential rhythm the author has interwoven in all the four of Gulliver s travels is that as Gulliver is given more and more responsibility, he tends to be less and less in control. In Lilliput, Gulliver is granted the least respect, yet he behaves appropriately in the presence of the Lilliputians. In Brobdingnag, Gulliver is granted more respect, but he behaves roughly in the presence of the Brobdingnagians. In Laputa, Gulliver is proud in that he considers the Laputans to be abnormal. In the land of the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver is respected even though most humans in that country are considered to be inferior; but he does not manage to live happily. Thus a rich man with money falling out of his pocket describes the dynamic change in Gulliver s character. It is true that an aristocrat spends his money carelessly in such unessential activities as drinking and gambling, and a poor man with little money is wisest in spending every penny. Gulliver symbolizes the character of a rich man. He is careless in valuing the amount of respect he receives in each of the lands, and he values more the sin of pride within himself and the others. Due to this quality, Gulliver absolutely hates mankind in each of the lands he visited, and therefore, the colors red and black are used to design the background of the coat of arms.
The motto illustrated on a separate sheet of paper basically outlines Gulliver s Travels in general as a literary piece of work. Gulliver always keeps his enemies at a close watch and shows much respect towards each of them in his travels. I suppose his intention behind this was to convince his enemies to like him. For instance, he was respectful to the Lilliputians, although he showed no sign of eagerness to demonstrate respect towards the Brobdingnagians, Laputans, or the Houyhnhnms.