Gulliver's Travels

what idea do you get about the lilliputians from gulliver's account

its from gulliver's travels

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By describing a society that chooses its highest officials with silly competitions like seeing who can jump the highest on a tight-rope, Swift is poking fun at the way officials are chosen in England. He is also commenting on the disturbing trend of politicians who are willing to do whatever it takes to gain favor in the court-including humiliating themselves. The danger of ambition is also figured here; jumping badly can lead to death.

Having Gulliver stand with his legs apart so that the Lilliputian armies can walk through is also a ridiculous idea. It is a comment on the pomp and circumstance of English armies. To Swift it seems that armies are often more concerned with looking impressive than with being impressive. This scene might also be an allusion to the Colossus of Rhodes, described in Julius Caesar by Shakespeare as a larger-than-life figure that men could walk through the legs of.

The contract Gulliver signs in order to gain his freedom further highlights the unequal relationship between Gulliver and the Lilliputians, but it is a relationship where a cordial contract trumps simple power. Gulliver could easily take control and break the contract, but he chooses to be peaceful.

The war between the English and the French is parodied in the conflict between the Lilliputians and the Blefuscudians. Their conflict over which end of the egg to break reflects the centuries-old conflict over how to practice religion-as Protestants or Catholics. While the wars over religion certainly were very serious, Swift suggests that what was being fought over (at least on the religious rather than the political side) really was not very important. In Swift's eyes, fighting over religion is as pointless as fighting over which end of an egg to break.

Swift also parodies the political parties within England. The Tory party is represented by the Low Heels while the Whigs are represented by the High Heels. Considering that Swift himself changed parties, he must have understood that political allegiance was important. Yet, political bickering is often about such unimportant matters as the height of one's heels.