It has been said that Dean Jonathan Swift hated humanity but loved the individual. His hatred is brought out in this caustic political and social satire aimed at the English people, humanity in general, and the Whigs in particular. By means of a disarming simplicity of style and of careful attention to detail in order to heighten the effect of the narrative, Swift produced one of the outstanding pieces of satire in world literature. Swift himself attempted to conceal his authorship of the book under its original title: Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts, by Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of Several Ships.
When Swift created the character of Lemuel Gulliver as his narrator for Gulliver’s Travels, he developed a personality with many qualities admired by an eighteenth century audience and still admired by many readers. Gulliver is a decent sort of person: hopeful, simple, fairly direct, and full of good will. He is a scientist, a trained doctor, and, as any good scientist should, he loves detail. His literal-minded attitude makes him a keen observer of the world around him. Furthermore, he is, like another famous novel character of the eighteenth century—Robinson Crusoe—encouragingly resourceful in emergencies. Why is it, then, that such a seemingly admirable, even heroic character, should become, in the end, an embittered misanthrope, hating the world and turning against everyone,...
(The entire section is 1337 words.)
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