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Gulliver's Travels As Both Story & Satire

            At the surface, Gulliver's Travels is a rousing adventure story, full of strange, comical and wondrous lands and beings. It is a straightforward tale of several voyages and adventures, wild and imaginative. However, scratch beneath this surface and you will find scathing commentary on the state of mankind. Gulliver's first voyage to Lilliput can be seen as a critique of English party politics and the small-mindedness Swift ascribes to it. The final voyage, though, we see Gulliver, soured by what he has seen throughout those long years, finally abandon humanity illustrated (at least in his eyes) by the vile Yahoos. In the end, Swift portrays Gulliver as equally flawed and absurd as the other beings he encountered by not allowing him to see the potential in his fellow human being. This book is not merely an adventure, but a depiction of the human condition, its debased nature as well as its promise.
             The first voyage begins with a violent storm, which strands Gulliver on an uncharted island. He soon finds himself captured by the miniscule Lilliputians. Gulliver engages in a treaty with the king and begins to learn about their society. Gulliver, the fictional author of these accounts is as straightforward as the prose, taking Lilliputian society seriously and without criticism. Swift, however, has made these tiny, petty men to represent his attitude towards English party politics. .
             By having Gulliver tower over the people of Lilliput, Swift exaggerates their smallness of character, creating a more absurd view of their legalese, boasts of vastness of realm, and the almost Babylonian description of their king. Their pettiness is further illustrated by the charges of treason leveled at Gulliver for his various actions to save the castle from fire, and the realm from invasion. Several parallels can be made between the Lilliputians and England of the 17th and 18th centuries. The eternal war with Blefuscu can be seen as the centuries long struggle between England and France.

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