Summary: From Lilliput To Brobdingnag

716 Words3 Pages
From Lilliput to Brobdingnag, not only the observer’s perspective is changing. The picture of Brobdingnag is like the negative of the picture of Lilliput: the tiny inhabitants of Lilliput are jealous and corrupt; the giant inhabitants of Brobdingnag are peaceful and honest. However Gulliver has discovered some interesting features in Lilliput and moreover Brobdingnag is not presented as the paradise. According to Arthur E. Case,
“The first two voyages are carefully contrasted: the first or negative one depicts a typical European government which has become more corrupt than the average, while the second or positive one portrays a government better than the average. In neither case Swift proceed to extremes: he seems to be trying to show the
…show more content…
In Gulliver’s first two expeditions, he condemns these vices without providing a ready-made solution to avoid their effects in the society and in politics. Describing Lilliput, he gives at most some leads such as, for example, rewarding people who observe the laws or choosing honourable persons for public employments. In Brobdingnag, Gulliver doesn’t meet the vices which are denounced by Swift, but the moral fibre of the giants seems to be a natural disposition of this people and not the result of the institutions of their country. Indeed these institutions aren’t accurately depicted in Swift’s…show more content…
In Gulliver’s last travel, he discovers the Houyhnhnms, horses whose society is entirely built on Reason. But the Houyhnhnms are not human: they ignore the vices of Lilliput, but they ignore also love and friendship. Swift was a lucid observer not only of public life, but generally of human beings. He knew the weaknesses of human nature. His weapon to fight against was not preaching but irony. He was rather pessimistic about human nature, thus he did not seem to believe that a perfect government and a perfect society were possible. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to search a model of government and society in Gulliver’s Travels.
But Gulliver’s third travel contains a warning which shows that Swift was more than an exceptional observer: a man of vision. According to George Orwell, “Swift’s greatest contribution to political thought in the narrower sense of the words, is his attack, especially in Part III, on what would now be called totalitarianism. He has an extraordinary clear prevision of the spy-haunted ‘police State” Swift’s vision of the future was based of nothing but his knowledge of the human mind. What could better attest his foresight that the admiration of the author of Nineteen
Open Document