After many pleasant discussions with the King of Brobdingnag, Gulliver one day decides to repay the king's kindness by offering to tell him the secret of gunpowder. As a preface to his offer, he describes the amazing powers of firearms and cannons. He describes how England uses them regularly to sink ships or lay waste cities, "dashing out the brains of all who [come] near."
The king, rather than showing interest in the "terrible engines" that could wreak such havoc or being tempted by the power they would give him, is appalled. First, he is dismayed that Gulliver could describe the effects of warfare with such absence of emotion or sympathy for those killed.
Second, he asserts that the inventor of such weapons must have been "some evil genius, enemy to mankind." He declares that he would rather lose half his kingdom than learn the secret of such destruction, and he commands Gulliver on pain of death to never speak of it to him again.
The king's reaction reveals several things about his...
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