Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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Part I, Chapters 7-8: Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
“A Considerable person at Court”: visits Gulliver and privately gives him a copy of the articles of impeachment against him

The Emperor of Blefuscu: ruler who protects Gulliver after Gulliver, having been accused of treason by the Lilliputians, escapes to Blefuscu

Mrs. Gulliver: the patient wife of the narrator, who remains behind in England during his voyages; introduced earlier as Mary Burton, her maiden name

In Chapters Seven and Eight Gulliver, who “had been all my life,” as he says, “a stranger to Courts,” discovers their terrible effects. He is privately informed by “a considerable person at Court” of the Lilliputians’ charges against him. He is informed by this person that envy of his achievement in capturing the enemy’s fleet has earned Gulliver the undying hatred of the admiral, Skyresh Bolgolam, and that Flimnap, the High Treasurer, has been antagonized by rumors about Gulliver and his lady. The articles of impeachment against Gulliver are shown to Gulliver and to the reader. The first article accuses Gulliver of ritual pollution by urinating on the imperial palace “under color of extinguishing the fire.” The second article accuses him of treasonously refusing to seize all the ships of Blefuscu, protecting that island from conquest by Lilliput. The third article accuses him of inappropriate contact with the ambassadors from Blefuscu, while the fourth accuses him of planning to travel to Blefuscu with “only verbal license” (permission) from the Emperor of Lilliput.

Gulliver is informed by the court official that the Emperor had favored sparing Gulliver’s life. Reldresal, because of his friendship with Gulliver, successfully pleaded to that effect, proposing that Gulliver be blinded, so he could still work for the Lilliputians. After the admiral and secretary demand a harsher punishment, the Emperor proposes that, in addition to being blinded, Gulliver should be gradually starved to death. This proposal is adopted.

The Emperor and court, in accordance with a recently-adopted practice, announce that this punishment is an example of the Emperor’s “great leniency and tenderness.” Gulliver decides to escape, and takes a ship with him (putting his clothes in it) to Blefuscu, where he is received by their Emperor with hospitality.

In Chapter Eight, Gulliver discovers a real boat in Blefuscu, and he has it repaired with some difficulty. After the Emperor of Blefuscu refuses to return him to Lilliput to be punished, Gulliver has sails put on the boat, loads it with food, and sets sail on the high seas. He is picked up by an English ship and returns to England, staying for only two months. Gulliver, being well provided for by an inheritance, leaves his wife and two children and goes on another voyage.

In these chapters, we see Swift’s bitterness against political intrigues, in part resulting from his personal experiences, expressed. Gulliver’s cooperation and assistance to the Lilliputians merely excites their envy; he is almost sentenced to death, and the best that his friend Flimnap can do is get a sentence of blinding and gradual...

(The entire section is 765 words.)