Thursday, 1 November 2012

Gulliver's Travels: A Critical Analysis

Name-  Mansi D Rajyaguru
Paper- The Neo classical Literature
Topic- Gulliver's Travels: A Critical Analysis
Class- M.A 2 (Sem 1)

Submitted to,
Heenaba Zala,
Dept of English,
M.K. Bhavnagar University,

 Gulliver's Travels: A Critical Analysis

# A Satire, a parody and a comic Masterpiece

    The book called Gulliver's Travels is a satire on four aspects of man: the physical, the political, the intellectual and the moral. The book is also a brilliant parody of travel literature; and it is at once science fiction and a witty parody of science fiction. It expresses savage indignation at the follies, vices, and stupidities of men, and it shows an awareness of man's tragic insufficiency. At the same time it is a great comic masterpiece, a fact which readers of solemn temperaments often fail to recognize.

  # Events which established the Tones of the Four voyages  

The title of the book tells us that it is an account of Gulliver's travels into several remote nations of the world. The four voyages of Gulliver are so arranged in the book as to show an intensification of tone as we travel through increasing darkness into the black heart of humanity but the forward movement of the book is interrupted by the third voyage which is a grim comment on science, politics and economics as practiced by madmen. The tone of each voyage is established by the nature of the event that brings about the adventure. In the first voyage, it is accident or the carelessness of the look-out, which accounts for the ship-wreck. In the second, Gulliver is left alone in a strange land through the cowardice of his shipmates. In the third, he is captured and later abandoned by pirates. In the fourth, his crew of cut throat revolts, seizes the ship and leaves him to starve on a nearly island.

# The Idea of the Great chain of being used by Swift in the First Two voyages.

The first two voyages show how effectively swift uses the idea of the great chain of being. "A Nothing in comparison with the Infinite, an all in comparison with the nothing, a mean between nothing and everything" Swift translates this theme into a different key, and makes it the major instrument of his satire. In the first two voyages, Gulliver is made aware of the disproportion which Pascal had found in man.

# Part III, Loosely Episodic
The account of the third voyage of Gulliver has generally been regarded as the least successful. Structurally this account is loosely episodic, lacking a unity of action and tone. In this account we have the details of Gulliver's visit to Laputa or the flying island, to Lagado, to Glubbdubdrib, to Luggnagg and to Japan. This third voyage is kind of fantasia on two themes which swift treats under a single metaphor. The metaphor is science and the themes are politics and the abuse of reason.

#The fourth voyage, a target of attack
This voyage marks the climax of the book. This great section has provoked violent attacks on Swift and his book. According to Thackeray, the meaning of this part was,
''Man is utterly wicked, desperate, imbecile and his passions are monstrous and his boosted power means that he is and deserves to be the shame of brutes and ignorance is better than his vaunted reason.''

# Gulliver, a changed Man at the End
       From the moment that the banished Gulliver in despair sets sail from Houyhnhnms-land, his pride, his misanthropy and his madness become apparent. Gulliver who writes this book is still under the control of his obsession and when we last saw him, he prefers the smell and conversation of his two horses to the company of his wife and children. This is misanthropy in the manner of Timon of Athens, not in the manner of Swift.

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