In Jonathan Swift ridicules the Lilliputians political groups

In the beginning of the novel, the Lilliputians were used to symbolize English government. The Lilliputians were divided into two political groups based on who wore high-heeled or low-heeled shoes, representing the two different parties, the Tories and the Whigs, “… under the names of Tramecksan and Slamecksan, from the high and low heels of their shoes, by which they distinguish themselves” (Swift 53). Jonathan Swift ridicules the Lilliputians political groups by distinguishing them by the height of their shoes showing that he does not take the Torie and the Whig political parties seriously. Swift further mocks English rule through the use of the Lilliputians’ way to obtain a government position: “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” (Swift 44). The way that the Lilliputians can gain political position is by doing something completely unrelated to the government, which shows Swift’s look on English government and how political leaders obtain their positions without any experience. When Lemuel Gulliver went on his second excursion and ended up being stranded on Brobdingnag, Jonathan Swift demonstrates the contempt Gulliver has for the Tories and the Whigs and proves that the English leaders were very foolish and flawed. Swift’s political satire was portrayed through Gulliver when the King of Brobdingnag asked him about his thoughts on the two main political parties and whether he was a Tory or a Whig. When Gulliver heard the question, “He had a hearty fit of laughing” (Swift 112), then continued by describing to the king why he does not respect the Tories or the Whigs saying that, “they love, they fight, they dispute, they cheat, they betray” (Swift 112). The King of Brobdingnag takes this time to criticize Gulliver’s pride saying he thinks that Gulliver thinks politics are so meaningful but they truly are not. Once Gulliver develops a closer relationship with the king, he decides to introduce a new idea so the Brobdingnagians so that they can use it to their advantage at war. The Brobdingnag King represents a mockery of England’s government because, just like British leaders, the king of Brobdingnag was irrational with his decisions and would not accept new ideas. When Gulliver started to describe gunpowder and how it works, the Brobdingnag King “was struck with horror at the description” (Swift 139). The king was so greatly disturbed with changing any of his tactics, that he quickly rejected the idea and asked Gullivers to “never to mention anymore” (Swift 139). Gulliver obeyed the king’s request to not mention the gunpowder idea again because the king “would rather lose half his kingdom than be privy to such a secret” (Swift 139). The king expressed to Gulliver that he would feel guilty if he used gunpowder in battle and defeated his enemy while keeping the advantage a secret from them because it would be unjust. The next island that Gulliver was stranded on was called the Island of Laputa which was an island floating above the ground. This symbolizes how England was ruled because, since Laputa Island was not attached to the earth, this reveals that they did not have strong connections with the world around them, relating to how Swift is expressing how England did not have strong connections with other countries around them also. Also, this could mean that the kings of both England and Laputa had complete control over their people, “and it was easy, from the great advantage of such a superior situation” (Swift 172), because other islands or countries had no impact on them. It was easy for the leaders to obtain power over their people because, with no outside influences, the people do not know any other way of life than their own. The only exception of outside influences with the Island of Laputa would be with the continent below them because the King of Laputa gained control over the people of the lower continent. The Laputian King obtained power over the continent under Laputa through making the people send their appreciation to Laputa, and if they did not, “The first and the mildest course is by keeping the island hovering over such a town, and the lands about it, whereby he can deprive them of the benefit of the sun and the rain” (Swift 174). The power that the Laputian King had over the people of both Laputa, and the continent below, exemplifies that the King of England had strict authority over his people as well. The last destination that Lemuel Gulliver travels to is the Country of the Houyhnhnms, where the Houyhnhnms, innocent horses, rule over the Yahoos, filthy human-like creatures. The Yahoos were disheveled and filthy creatures portraying human nature with vicious qualities and greedy nature which relates to Gulliver’s trait when addressing British rule. Gulliver was completely disgusted by the Yahoos saying that, “Upon the whole, I never beheld, in all my travels, so disagreeable an animal, or one against which I naturally conceived so strong an antipathy” (Swift 225). Gulliver describes them as inhuman and horrific showing that he was blind to see that he was just like them. Towards the end of the novel, when Gulliver is back home with his wife and children, he realizes that they are Yahoos and possess the same traits as them. When Gulliver learns to talk to his wife again without being completely disgusted, the lessons that he teaches her are ironic because he had said that: “But when I behold a lump of deformity and diseases, both in body and mind, smitten with pride, it immediately breaks all the measures of my patience; neither shall I be ever able to comprehend how such an animal, and such a vice, could tally together” (Swift 294). This is ironic because he has stated that he can only stand Yahoos as long as they do not possess pride, which he has shown time and time again throughout the novel. The primary difference between the Yahoos and the Houyhnhnms would be the innocence of the Houyhnhnms, and the arrogant qualities of the Yahoos. The Yahoos are examples of human qualities overpowering other more modest qualities as stated in Bloom’s Literature Gulliver’s Travels: “The contrast between the Houyhnhnms (ruling horses) and the Yahoos (animal-like humans) allows Swift to show his despair at the level to which human beings can, and do, sink” (Shuman). This proves that human nature always has a way of coming through in a positive or negative way at some point. Swift uses the purpose of the islanders to illustrate the British government based off of their looks, personalities, and actions. In the beginning, he demonstrates the English government through small people, implying that they are irrelevant and also through very large people signifying that they think they are imperative and better than they actually are. Finally, Swift shows how human nature, representing British rule, becomes overpowering. By recognizing the political satire over the course of the novel, Swift’s readers can quickly discover his point of view and thoughts of the English government.

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