Dept. of English
M. K. Bhavnagar University
Swift’s satire is inspired by his
hatred of mankind.
His ridiculous jokes appear very
The novel is the imagination of
Swift, a fully fictional world,
but the real intent is different.
The society seems unreal with it
has a magic mirror.
The novel can be read as the
most powerful attack ever made
against man's wickedness and
Gulliver's voyage to
Lilliput, in the first part of
the book, takes us to the
land of pygmies, a land
that bears a striking
resemblance to England.
Lilliput is a miniature
empire with a little
monarch who entitled
himself as "delight and
terror of the universe".
Swift describes the life
and customs of the
Lilliputian court, highly
remindful of the picture
he had seen in London.
The major difference is
the size. It emphasizes
Gulliver learns about the
rope-dancing skill and the
selection of government
officials. The would-be
officers jump from through
the hoops to get the
position in the king’s
court. This is arbitrary and
"when a great office is vacant either by death or
disgrace (which often happens), five or six of those
candidates petition the emperor to entertain his
Majesty and the Court with a dance on the rope,
and whoever jumps the highest without falling
succeeds in the office. Very often the chief
Ministers themselves are commanded to show their
skill and to convince the Emperor that they have
not lost their faculty."
The description of the Emperor, the Court and the
Ministers of Lilliput give a realistic picture of
English political life under George I, a picture
which, which although seen through a telescope,
loses none of its essential features: the corruption
of the ministers, the Court intrigues and favoritism,
the squabbles of the Wigs and the Tories over
trifling differences in policy, the demagogy of the
religious slogans and many others.
Description of man in Neoclassical Age:
Neoclassicism represented a reaction against the
optimistic, exuberant, and enthusiastic Renaissance
view of man as a being fundamentally good and
possessed of an infinite potential for spiritual and
intellectual growth. Neoclassical theorists, by
contrast, saw man as an imperfect being,
inherently sinful, whose potential was limited.
Gulliver is tied up. This shows futile
attempts of Lilliputians. They are
unaware of their insignificance. They
are in illusion that they have
controlled Gulliver. With this Swift
shows humanity’s pretentions to
power and significance, importance.
Gulliver’s enjoyment being a big fish
in small pond.
Lilliputians try to bring Gulliver to their
heel is ridiculous because Gulliver can kill
them simply by walking.
A Lilliputian teaches Gulliver their
language. Here Swift is mocking at
humanity’s belief in its own importance.
Gulliver tries to communicate in all the
languages which he knows.
Gulliver’s belongings are taken away by the
Lilliputians and he is forced to sign a document.
In the document each word emphasizes
All is meaningless and contradictory.
The kingdom is divided into two factions, Tramecksan
and Slamecksan. The people are distinguished by the
heights of their heels. The emperor belongs to the low
heels. The fear of Blefuscu. Reldresal says that
Blefuscu is the Other Great Empire of the Universe.
Lilliputians don’t believe in the existence of other
world, nation, human race. So they think that
Gulliver’s birth is unnatural, he is dropped from the
moon or the stars.
A contradictory thing is that Gulliver had become
fully aware that there was no essential difference
between them and that actually, both of them were
driven by the same selfish interests.
Swift ridicules the religious conflict over matters of
rites and doctrine between Protestants and Roman
Catholics, which had caused so many wars.
Gulliver is informed about the reason of the
war. It was about the breaking en egg.
Lilliputains argued, “That all true believers shall
break their eggs at the convenient end,” here
the convenient end could be interpreted as the
small end. People choose death rather than to
surrender. Gulliver catches the ships at Blefuscu
port. The war ends.
It may sound silly for the readers but Gulliver’s
reaction is very serious. Because he relates the
conflict with the European history.
The High-heels and The Low-heels, to parties
correspond to the Whigs and Tories of English
Lilliput and Blefuscu represent England and
The conflict between Big-Endians and Little-
Endians, the Catholics and Protestants.
Fire in the queen’s room and Gulliver’s profane
action to save lives. This also shows Gulliver’s
physical strength. It asserts the fact that
Gulliver can control the Lilliputians. The queen
represents Queen Anne.
Gulliver learns about customs of the
Lilliputians. Children are raised by the kingdom
not by individual parents. The laborers’ children
stay at home because they are suppose to work
in a farm.
Swift is concerned with the concrete social, political,
and moral aspects of human nature.
He believes that in Man God had created an animal
which was not inherently rational but only capable,
on occasion, of behaving reasonably: only, as he put
it, rationis capax.
Gulliver tries to be rational with the people he met.
Gulliver in reverse situation
Gulliver enslaved by the farmer. Master-slave
The god like Gulliver has little importance left
before the giants
Gulliver’s fight with rats are adventures for him.
The king sands three great
scholars to examine Gulliver.
They examined Gulliver’s
shape and said that he could
not be produced according to
the regular Laws of Nature.
Then they observed his teeth
and said that he was a
carnivorous animal. One of
them said that he might be
an Embrio or aborative Birth.
Gulliver is forced to dance before public. Like
Europeans the brobdingnagians are happy to use
The king makes fun of Gulliver’s culture. The
England seems insignificant to the king.
Gulliver is used as a
plaything. With a
microscopic view, Gulliver
finds the culture
imperfect. The personal
importance of an
individual is threatened.
The national and
individual identity is at
the position of dwarf
in the court.
Gulliver’s position in
England, in Lilliput
and now in
Brobdingnag, he tries
to maintain the
illusion of his
The imperfection is not of an organization or a
law. The culture is imperfect. When Gulliver
tries to tell the king about the secret of
gunpowder, the king immediately refuses. For
Gulliver gunpowder is an achievement but for
the king it has no importance.
High moral sense in Brobdingnagians
In Brobdingnag the king tries to minimize the
vices but they are not. The farmer, the dwarf
are such examples.
In Europe also they live with the illusion that no
vices exist in their society.
Gulliver speaks in English but the giants laugh at