Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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Part I, Chapters 5-6: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
The Empress of Lilliput: an enemy of Gulliver, who favors his punishment because he put out a fire in the palace in an inappropriate way

The Treasurer’s Wife: wife of Flimnap, who frequently visits Gulliver, but accompanied by a retinue; Gulliver vindicates her honor by proving that they were never alone

Clustril and Drunlo: the Treasurer’s informers cannot prove that anyone except the Treasurer (on the Emperor’s express orders) came to Gulliver incognito, but successfully damaged Gulliver’s reputation with the Treasurer and the Emperor

Gulliver wades and swims to the enemy island, Blefuscu, eight hundred yards at its nearest point from Lilliput, and prevents an invasion of Lilliput. He pulls away the fleet of Blefuscu by tying ropes to the ships and pulling the ropes, thus taking the ships to Lilliput. He shields himself from the enemy’s arrows with his eyeglasses. As a result, Gulliver is created a Nardac, Lilliput’s highest title of honor. The Emperor proposes that Gulliver do the same for all other ships of Blefuscu; Gulliver refuses, saying that as a result Blefuscu would be conquered by Lilliput. He would “never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave people into slavery.” The cabinet of Lilliput agrees with Gulliver, but the Emperor and many high officials then become enemies of Gulliver and plot against him. Blefuscu asks for peace; Gulliver’s contact with the ambassadors increases the dislike the Emperor and certain Lilliputian officials have for Gulliver.

When a fire breaks out in the imperial palace, Gulliver puts it out by urinating on it, violating a law and increasing the Empress’s hatred of him.

In Chapter Six, Gulliver breaks the narrative temporarily and describes the institutions and customs of Lilliput. It appears to be a Utopian society with enlightened methods of childbearing; laws are strict; ingratitude is a crime and “disbelief of a Divine Providence” makes a man ineligible for public office. In recent years, however, Lilliputian society has decayed. In the last two generations, high officials had to show acrobatic proficiency, and things are now getting worse.

Gulliver then describes how furniture, linen, and clothing were made for him. He also describes his meals.

Toward the end of Chapter Six, the narrative resumes. The Emperor, various members of the royal family, and Flimnap the High Treasurer all dine with Gulliver. Flimnap, always Gulliver’s secret enemy, tells the Emperor that because the cost of supporting Gulliver has damaged Lilliput’s economy, Gulliver ought to be discharged. Flimnap’s wife, together with several other people, frequently visits Gulliver. Flimnap’s informers, Clustril and Drunlo, make false charges against Gulliver, causing his influence with the Emperor to decline still more, although Gulliver is able to prove that he was never alone with the...

(The entire section is 715 words.)