How would Gulliver be characterized in Parts I and II of Gulliver's Travels?

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Principal characteristics that stand out in the character of Gulliver are the way that he seems to lack any canny or astute ability to get himself out of trouble. It is this trait above all that separates him from other heroes in texts such as Homer's The Odyssey, where Odysseus shows himself to be intelligent and quick-thinking. Gulliver, by contrast, is often a passive character who lets other characters do what they want with him without trying to resist or think his way out of the various situations he finds himself in. This is why he is a captive at various stages in his ventures. Remember that he is never released through his own plans or ability to think his way out of his troubles, and is dependent on circumstantial factors for his release. Although he is hardworking in pursuing his liberty when he sees an opportunity to escape, such as when he repairs the boat that allows him to leave Blefuscu, he is never actively engaged in coming up with strategems for escape himself.

Gulliver, as his name suggests, is also shown to be rather naive and gullible. A great example of this is the way that he is completely clueless about the way in which he is exploited by the Lilliputians. He may be very skilled in such areas as navigation and seafaring, but the text makes it clear that he lacks the ability to reflect on his own character and culture. He shows to lack any ability to philosophically reflect on the differences between humans and the people that he encounters.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,993 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question