How does the King of Brobdingnag view English history of the preceding hundred years?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Gulliver wishes to tell the King of Brobdingnag more about Great Britain and its history, the king listens with great attention and even takes notes. When Gulliver is done, the king draws the following conclusion about British history:

It was only a heap of conspiracies, rebellions, murders, massacres, revolutions, banishments, the very worst effects that avarice, faction, hypocrisy, perfidiousness, cruelty, rage, madness, hatred, envy, lust, malice, and ambition, could produce.

In other words, the king is utterly appalled at the bad behavior of the English people, understanding them as bloodthirsty, insane, hateful, greedy, spiteful, and murderous. This is not the impression Gulliver had planned to make, but as usual, he tells the truth in a naïve way.

The king is also appalled that England has a "mercenary standing army," meaning that it pays soldiers to be in the army even when there is no war. The king is, as well, amazed that the country is willing to fight so many expensive wars and decides:

that certainly we must be a quarrelsome people, or live among very bad neighbours, and that our generals must needs be richer than our kings.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Basically, the king of these giant people thinks that the history and governmental system of the British proves that they are horrible people.  After Gulliver explains British history and government, the king tells him

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.

In general, what the king says is that British history is just too full of violence and other evils.  He says it shows that the British are, among other bad things, hypocritical, lustful, and malicious.

Swift tells us of a number of questions that the king asks Gulliver.  These can be found in Chapter 6 and they can show you specific things that the king thinks are bad.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial