Who is Gulliver in Gulliver's Travels?  

Expert Answers
coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathon Swift, we hear about the adventures of Lemuel Gulliver. Lemuel is an average middle-class man who is very curious and very good at languages. He is also very brave and this courage carries him through the great risks and hazards of all his journeys. Lemuel Gulliver is also very resourceful, and this attribute helps him to survive where others would likely give up. He thinks up a way to communicate to the little people that he is hungry and thirsty, getting them to feed him by devising some basic sign language. Lemuel does have some character flaws. For example, he thinks he is always right and does not see any character deficiencies in his own personality. The author of the novel makes fun of this flaw in the story, and Swift has the little people called the Lilliputians make fun of Lemuel's pretensions. It is likely that he would have had a very fancy uniform and would have expected to be treated as a superior. Despite his comparatively enormous size, the tiny creatures are able to bind him, boss him about and tell him what to do. Lemuel Gulliver's main profession is surgery and this expertise would have been greatly in demand in Swift's time and a doctor would have been used to respect rather than insults.

He is also a sea captain by trade, yet he manages to get himself shipwrecked and then has to fend for himself instead of bossing his many shipmates about. As a sea captain he would have been waited upon at table and would have had his own personal assistant. Finding himself stranded alone, however, he does not panic but takes his time to consider his position and how best to extricate himself from it. At first he thinks he should wait from dawn until nightfall to hatch an escape plan, which shows extraordinary patience on a hot day. As it turns out, the little people do not give him the luxury of time and set about conveying him elsewhere straight away. Lemuel is very observant and watches the little people very closely, managing to deduce the likely course of events. At the end of the story we see him as a recluse or loner because he can hardly bear to be with humankind ever again. He even goes to stay in the stables due to his dislike of people. It seems the horselike Yahoos he saw on one of his voyages were enough to put him off his own kind for life.