Gulliver's Travels

Satirical Analysis of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

In an elaborate concoction of political allegory, social anatomy, moral fable, and mock utopia: Gulliver's Travels is written in the voice of Captain Lemuel Gulliver, an educated, seafaring man voyaging to remote countries for the purpose of contributing to human knowledge. The four books written by Jonathan Swift could well be deemed masterpieces, for he utilizes a skilful parody of pseudo-scientific exploration journals and travel fiction to launch a veritable smorgasbord of satirical social and political attacks.

In Book One, Gulliver is shipwrecked on an unknown island named Lilliput, where he encounters a race of people "not six inches high". Curiously, the customs and history of these people sound, at times, remarkably similar to the English. Although Gulliver always narrates the tale in his own voice, his experiences with the people of Lilliput bear a notable resemblance to the real events that transpired between the Earl of Oxford and Viscount Bolingbroke. The opening letter from Captain Gulliver to his cousin Sympson is an admirable introduction to Swift's propensity for irony; even Gulliver's most innocent disclaimers often prove to be satirical strikes at politics, hypocrisy, and even humanity in...

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