“I write for the noblest end, to inform and instruct Mankind…” Analyze and critically comment on Gulliver’s Travels in the light of this statement.  

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There is a sense in which Swift is correct, as this text does seek to inform and instruct mankind, but it could be argued that when he says he writes for the "noblest of reasons" he is saying this tongue-in-cheek, as his chosen vehicle for instruction is the use of satire, which holds up society to be ridiculed by exaggerating its faults and vices. However, in Gulliver's Travels it can be seen again and again that Swift is trying to get his readers to look at their own world and society in a different way, and thus this fits in with his self-declared aim as he presents it. Note, for example, how in Part II, Chapter 6, the King of Brobdingnag pronounces his judgement on the inhabitants of England:

My little Friend Grildrig... I cannot but conclude the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth.

This comes just after Gulliver has tried to convince the king of England's importance through describing its various institutions. The irony of this comment therefore can be linked to the way in which Swift writes, and his desire to instruct and inform. Swift takes the everyday life and society of his readers and offers it back to them in a different form in order to help them see their lives and their world in a very different way. The way in which the king sees the lives of the English as resembling "Vermin" is satirical in the extreme, but it does highlight the way that others can see something that may be important to somebody else but come to a very different judgement or conclusion. Swift writes to challenge the views of his readers and to encourage them to see themselves differently, and thus this text can be said to achieve the aims of its author.


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