How far is it true to say that Swift is a misanthrope? Discuss with reference to Gulliver's Travels.answer in detail

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is much simpler to dismiss Swift as a misanthrope if one is not willing to analyze the deeper message Swift tries to bring out of his lines.

In Gullliver travels, each world that Gulliver meets is characterized by some form of weakness which takes the shape of sadistic stupidity.

The Laputans sink themselves into thought by thinking about nothing. These are people who represent those human beings who establish philosophies for the sake of making them, and not applying a thing they have learned.

The Lilliputians are horrid little backstabbing traitors, each other's worst enemies, and public enemies of the world. They reprewsent the barbaric society who acts like a subculture of its own kind.

The Houyhnhnms represent the part of society that makes ridiculous rules to maintain a quota, and the purpose of maintaining a quota does not make sense.

All these and many more are not just insults fired in the dark at society, but actual observations that Swift made on his own country. More than talking with hatred, he mostly illustrates his anger by characterizing the worst of society with strange and fantastic tribes of people.

He would be a misanthrope if he had written directly to the people of England in rage and with an irrational view of the world. Instead, he mocks it with rough language and insane situations. He is trying to make a point: Social stupidity occurs everywhere, and we all should mock it as well.