Gulliver's giant feet walking in the diminuative forest of the lilliputians

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift
Start Free Trial

How does Gulliver escape the land of Lilliput?  

Expert Answers

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

Gulliver discovers he is going to be accused of high treason in Lilliput. He also learns that, due to the "great leniency" of the ruler, he will only have to submit to having his eyes put out by having arrows shot into them while he is tied to the ground. Not wanting to lose his eyes, he decides to leave early on his planned trip to Blefuscu.

He takes a Lilliputian ship—which is easy since the Lilliputians are so tiny—by lifting up its anchor, and puts his clothes into it. Then, swimming and wading and dragging the ship, he crosses the channel. He arrives at Blefuscu and, through good fortune, finds a ship big enough to carry him away from all the tiny people of the Lilliputian lands. The emperor is glad to help him leave and sets 500 people to work making him sails. On September 24, 1701, as Gulliver reports, he sails away.

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

Gulliver actually escapes from Lilliput fairly easily: after falling out of favor with the Emperor of Lilliput, Gulliver walks across the channel separating Lilliput from Blefuscu, and then from there he finds a boat, sails away, and is eventually picked up by an English ship. 

Gulliver's need to suddenly escape to Blefuscu can be seen as a satire of the fickle nature of European court culture. Just as Gulliver quickly falls out of favor with the Lilliputian elite, so too did popular courtiers run the risk of becoming suddenly very unpopular, often for trivial reasons. Such a position was often very dangerous, and a punishment similar to the one Gulliver narrowly escapes (being blinded, starved to death, etc.) was probably not out of the ordinary in many European courts. In this way, Swift points out that perhaps being a member of the ruling elite is not as enviable a position as one might think.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team