What is the target of Swift's Satire in Part IV of Gulliver's Travels? Do you think he is justified in his invective against Man in this section of the book?

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jmj616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Part IV of Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift aims his satire at the entire human race.

In this part of the book, the narrator visits the lands of the Houyhnhnms, a race of clean, intelligent, honest, well-behaved horses.  The Houyhnhnms are served by the Yahoos, a race of dirty, stupid, violent, foul-smelling humans.

Like all satirists, Swift lays it on a little thick.  Still, he certainly finds plenty to criticize about us humans.  Consider, for example, the narrator's explanation of why his sailors were willing to abandon their homes to accompany him on his journey:

Some were undone by Law-suits; others spent all they had in Drinking, Whoring and Gaming; others fled for Treason; many for Murder, Theft, Poysoning, Robbery, Perjury, Forgery, Coining false Money; for commiting Rapes or Sodomy... 

None of these were known amongst the Houyhnhnms; nor did they know anything about "Lust, Intemperance, Malice, and Envy."  As for lying, their language did not even have a word to describe it; when the narrator tries to explain the concept to his Houyhnhnm friend, he must use the phrase "[saying] the Thing which was not."