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What is an example of satire in Part 2 of Gulliver's Travels?

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kooky1 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted June 15, 2010 at 2:48 AM via web

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What is an example of satire in Part 2 of Gulliver's Travels?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM (Answer #1)

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One good example of satire in Brobdingnag is the status of laws. Instead of the overwritten, obscure laws of most governments, Brobdingnagian laws are limited and plainly written, with only one possible interpretation:

No law in that country must exceed in words the number of letters in their alphabet, which consists only of two and twenty... They are expressed in the most plain and simple terms, wherein those people are not mercurial enough to discover above one interpretation: and to write a comment upon any law, is a capital crime.
(Swift, Gulliver's Travels, eNotes eText)

By limiting the laws to a short length and one interpretation, there is no structure for a court and lawyers to tie up public funds and time with long legal battles. This removes the possibility of corruption, since no one can be bribed or threatened to interpret the laws any other way. Also, the simplicity of the laws means that anyone can understand and apply them, instead of limiting the legal audience to those verse in dense legalese. Here, Swift satirizes the law structure of England and the United States, where laws are long and difficult to understand in their language and interpretation.


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