Humanity In Gulliver's Travels

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The Spectrum of Humanity In Gulliver’s Travels: A Voyage to the Country of the Houyhnhnms, Jonathan Swift explains the journey of a man, Gulliver, to an island inhabited by Houyhnhnms. On this island, the roles are reversed to where the Yahoos, humans, are the lower beings, and the houyhnhnms, horses, are the superior beings. The houyhnhnms are creatures of honesty and justice while the yahoos are unteachable beings who run rampant. When looking at the main characters of this story—the houyhnhnms, the yahoos, and Gulliver—symbolize the differences in the scale of humanity. The houyhnhnms, or superior beings, on this island are near perfection. Swift says, “The word Houynhnhnm, in their tongue, signifies a horse, and, in its etymology, the…show more content…
They symbolize the bad side of men. These creatures have no morality about them, and Gulliver loathes them the moment he sees them. They do not wear any clothes and have hair on parts of their body that Gulliver finds unnatural. They have claws on their hands and feet that are incredibly long. It is known from the moment they enter the story that they are loathsome creatures. After watching the yahoos for a time, Gulliver says, “So that, thinking I had seen enough, full of contempt and aversion, I got up, and pursued the beaten road…” (340). Because the yahoos are so bad, when Gulliver returns to his home land, he cannot stand the sight of his wife and children. He says, “But I must freely confess the sight of them filled me only with hatred, disgust, and contempt and the more, by reflecting on the near alliance I had to them” (379). Because of Gulliver’s disgust at yahoos, and now humans, he cannot stand the thought of being around his family. He can only see the bad side of people. In Coleridge’s analysis of the work, he compares the yahoos to humans and states, “Understanding, he would be the most loathsome and hateful of all animals; that his understanding would manifest itself only as malignant cunning, his free will as obstinacy and unteachableness” (Coleridge
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