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

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

Start Free Trial

Part 1, Chapters 5–8

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Last Updated on May 12, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 965

Chapter 5

Gulliver forms a plan to prevent Blefuscu from invading Lilliput by capturing the Blefuscudian fleet. He ascertains that the channel separating Lilliput from Blefuscu is nowhere more than about six feet deep, then has hooks and cables made by the Lilliputians. He wades across the channel, swimming the deepest part, fastens fifty Blefuscudian ships to the hooks, and tows them back to Lilliput with the cables. The emperor of Lilliput is waiting on the shore and immediately bestows on Gulliver the title of nardac, the highest level of nobility. However, he quickly alters his view when Gulliver refuses to fall in with his idea of crushing Blefuscu completely and reducing the island to a province of Lilliput. Gulliver argues that his oath was to protect Lilliput, not to reduce a free people to slavery.

A few weeks later, an embassy arrives from Blefuscu to draw up a peace treaty, on terms highly advantageous to Lilliput. The ambassadors visit Gulliver, who arranges to pay a visit to their emperor. When he asks permission from the emperor of Lilliput to make this expedition, the emperor grants the favor with marked coldness. However, Gulliver is soon able to perform a great service for the emperor. The palace catches fire and seems in danger of burning down, when Gulliver puts out the fire by urinating on it. Since it is forbidden to pass water within the palace precincts, he has some fear that the emperor will be offended at his method of extinguishing the blaze. The emperor issues a royal pardon, but the empress is appalled and decides never to use that part of the palace again.

Chapter 6

Gulliver has already said that he plans to write a long treatise describing Lilliput in detail, but he decides to make a few general observations on the country in this chapter. First, he points out that, as the Lilliputians are slightly less than six inches high, everything around them is exactly in proportion, and some of the smallest objects, such as needle and thread, are actually invisible to him.

The Lilliputians have many strange customs. They bury their dead with heads pointing downward, since they believe the world will turn upside down at the resurrection, at which point they will therefore be standing upright. If someone accused of a crime against the state is found to be innocent, his accuser is put to death, and the accused is compensated for his ordeal. Fraud is regarded as a greater crime than theft, and a breach of trust is one of the most serious of all crimes. High moral standards are regarded as more important than great abilities in choosing candidates for any employment. Ingratitude is a capital crime.

Children are under no obligation to their parents, since, it is thought, the parents had children only for selfish reasons and, given the manifold pains of existence, did not confer any benefit on the children by doing so. They are brought up by professionals in public nurseries, and their parents are only permitted to see them twice a year. Girls are returned to their families at the age of twelve, by which time they are deemed ready to marry.

Gulliver also tells the reader something of his domestic arrangements in Lilliput, where he stayed for nine months and thirteen days. Two hundred seamstresses were employed to make his shirts and other linen, while he had three hundred cooks to prepare his food, including beef and mutton, as well as geese and turkeys which he could consume with a single bite.

Chapter 7

As Gulliver is...

(This entire section contains 965 words.)

See This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this study guide. You'll also get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

preparing for his visit to Blefuscu, one of the courtiers comes to him late at night to warn him that there is a plot to impeach him for high treason. The court has debated various ways of killing him, and even his supposed friend, Reldresal, arguing for clemency, has suggested that he should be blinded. This will be done in three days, though the emperor also intends to starve Gulliver to death after he has been blinded.

On the basis of this intelligence, Gulliver decides to pay his visit to Blefuscu immediately. He goes to the island by the same route as before, swimming and wading across the channel, walks to the capital city, and waits outside for the emperor to receive him. When he does so, Gulliver makes a speech about coming to visit Blefuscu and its emperor according to his promise, without mentioning the disgrace and danger from which he has just escaped in Lilliput.

Chapter 8

Three days after his arrival in Blefuscu, Gulliver sees a boat out at sea. With the assistance of the Blefuscudian navy, he brings it to shore and begins to repair it. While he is doing so, an envoy arrives from Lilliput with the articles of impeachment against Gulliver, demanding that the Blefuscudians return him to Lilliput, bound hand and foot. The emperor of Blefuscu returns a civil but evasive answer, including the news that Gulliver has found a boat and intends to return to his native land.

In about a month, Gulliver departs, with his boat well-repaired and provisioned. He leaves Blefuscu with great ceremony and, after sailing for twelve hours, stops for the night on a small island. He continues on the same course until he is picked up by an English merchant ship, with an old comrade of his on board. After a voyage of more than six months, he reaches England, where he makes a handsome profit by exhibiting, and later selling, some miniature cows he brought with him from Blefuscu as provisions. However, he still wants to travel and, having made arrangements for the financial comfort of his wife and children, sets sail again after a mere two months on a merchant ship aptly named the Adventure.


Part 1, Chapters 1–4


Part 2, Chapters 1–4