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

Gulliver's Travels

by Jonathan Swift

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Based on chapter 1 of the first voyage, how would you describe the emperor of Lilliput?

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We find out in the first chapter that the emperor has both ordered Gulliver to be tied to the ground but also has decreed that he have plenty to eat and drink. The emperor has also commanded that a vehicle be constructed to carry Gulliver to the capital.

At this point, Gulliver perceives the emperor as generous and prudent. This emperor has also apparently decreed that nobody attack Gulliver, which Gulliver understands as a wise move. If the tiny people were to shoot at Gulliver with their arrows, he might become aroused and irritated enough to break out of his bonds, but as it is, he is content to stay put. Gulliver imagines that no prince in Europe would behave in the same way toward a giant invading his land.

Gulliver informs us that the emperor supports learning. We also find out that the emperor climbs into a turret to view Gulliver's body from on high when Gulliver is brought to him. The emperor forbids the people, who have climbed onto Gulliver's body using ladders, to do that anymore. Finally, the emperor has Gulliver freed from his bonds so that he can stand up.

At this point, we have no reason to mistrust Gulliver's assessment of the emperor as generous and restrained or as a patron of knowledge. He seems to be a wise and reasonable ruler.

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Firstly, the emperor of Lilliput is cautious.  Although Gulliver signals that he desires his liberty when he is awakens to find himself bound on the beach, the emperor will not consent to give him his freedom; it appears that the protection of his people is his top priority.  Further, he orders the local doctors to give Gulliver a sleeping potion that knocks him out for about eight hours; during this time, he is moved to the city.  The emperor is prudent as well, as we learn that when he was first told about Gulliver's presence, he immediately ordered that Gulliver be bound, that plenty of food and drink be prepared for him, and that a machine be constructed by which they might transport him.  The emperor is also a champion of education and Gulliver imparts the Lilliputians' great skill in mathematics to the priority placed on education by their ruler.  Based on only the first chapter of the text, the emperor appears to be both wise and fair.

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