Free Gulliver's Travels Essays: Hypocrisy In Government Exposed

3017 words - 13 pages

Free Gulliver's Travels Essays - Hypocrisy in Government Exposed

Corruption of political systems in one of the primary themes in Gulliver's Travels. This corruption is a result of selfishness as well as the inability to see things from any other perspective rather than one’s own.

The first voyage of Gulliver takes him to the isle of Lilliput. There, he must play to a petty and ineffectual government. Swift uses several devices to highlight the Lilliputian stupidity. First, they are physically agile and graceful in comparison to Gulliver, who is portrayed as cumbersome and brutish.

When I found myself on my Feet, I looked about me, and must confess I never beheld a more ...view middle of the document...

The very fact that this book is put into an adventure format is to lull the reader into believing Gulliver... of course, because Gulliver is Gullible this takes the reader straight to insanity at the end. Swift challenges the reader to make their own decision by taking them from right to wrong and asking them to, at some point, begin disagreeing with Gulliver.

Another point that shows hypocrisy in a system of government is the legal system. In the passage, Gulliver shows how mans lack of insight leads to a conflict with political election:

In chusing Persons for all Employments, they have more regard to good Morals than to great Abilities; for, since Government is necessary to Mankind, they believe-that the common Size of Human Understandings is fitted to some Station or other, and that Providence never intended to make the Management of publick Affairs a Mystery, to be comprehended only by a few Persons of sublime Genius, of which there seldom are three born in an Age: but they suppose Truth, Justice, Temperance, and the like, to be in every Man's power; the Practice of which Virtues, assisted by Experience and a good Intention, would qualify any Man for the service of his Country, except where a Course of Study is required.

Here, using an argument later used by Andrew Jackson to defend the spoils system he shows an idea commonly forgotten by European politicians as the go after their own greedy schemes. Also, this attack on Europe politics serves to keep the reader on their toes, for Swift is now satirizing both Gulliver, the Lilliputians, and Europe.

Gulliver blames the dances for the fall of Lilliputian law, but what do they represent? It shows how when an incumbent practice day and night to stay that way (by whatever means), his job goes by the wayside. This stems from a lack of empathy with the people, and personal greed for themselves.

In relating these and the following Laws, I would only be understood to mean the original Institutions, and not the most scandalous Corruptions into which these People are fallen by the degenerate Nature of Man. For as to that infamous Practice of acquiring great Employments by dancing on the Ropes, or Badges of Favour and Distinction by leaping over Sticks and creeping under them, the Reader is to observe, that they were first introduced by the Grand-father of the Emperor now reigning, and grew to the present height by the gradual increase of Party and Faction.

It also shows how one kings pride/ boredom/ absolute power eventually makes him care more about personal entertainment then the kingdom. Remember, in Swifts day these people would not be seen as a different culture (no one was) but would have been held to the same morals and political ideas, so it would not have been hard for Swift to bring them this way and that with a sentence or two.

Making Gulliver seem as normal as possible was very important; the reader should have no problem believing this if the book...

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