Gulliver's Travels Questions and Answers
by Jonathan Swift

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How did Gulliver reach Lilliput, and how was he treated by the Lilliputians?  

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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At first, the Lilliputians assume that, because of his size, Gulliver will be violent and aggressive, so they treat him as an enemy.  They tie him down, shoot him with arrows, and eventually transport him, lying prostrate, to their city.  Once there, they chain him up and search (with his help) the contents of his pockets, confiscating most of his personal effects.  It does not take long, however, for them to begin to like Gulliver—although there are still some who strongly dislike him—and they begin to discern the ways in which they might put him to use in their longstanding feud with Blefuscu.  Although Gulliver initially aids Lilliput in this war, he eventually tells the emperor that he refuses to be the means by which a free and independent nation is enslaved.   Between this refusal and his attempt to help put out a palace fire with his urine, he is charged with high crimes against the state, and he escapes to Blefuscu.

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Alec Cranford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Gulliver reaches Lilliput by swimming ashore after a shipwreck. After being blown off course near "Van Diemen's Land" (Tasmania, an island south of Australia) his ship hits a rock, and the small boat he and several others attempt to use to escape is swamped by waves. He seems to be the only survivor, and is left to swim, which he does until he reaches a small island. "I swam as fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by wind and tide," Gulliver tells us, and he swam until the water was shallow enough to walk. After walking for nearly a mile in shallow water, he reaches a beach, where he lies down to rest in the grass. He wakes up to find himself tied to the ground by his limbs and by his hair, and he quickly discovers that the tiny Lilliputians, "not six inches high," have made him their prisoner. When he removes the ropes that secure him to the ground, they shoot him with tiny arrows. Eventually they relent and, after their leader greets him formally with a speech, they give him food and drink. He is briefly accepted into Lilliputian society, with the understanding that he will serve them in war against their mortal enemy Blefescu, but eventually angers them by putting out a fire with his urine, violating an imperial decree that "whoever shall make water within the precincts of the royal palace, shall be liable to the pains and penalties of high-treason." He escapes punishment by fleeing to Blefescu.

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