Gulliver's Travels Themes at a Glance
Gulliver's Travels key themes:
In Gulliver's Travels, Swift parodies British politics of his day by comparing the petty Lilliputian emperor to King George I, and the meaningless ribbons given to the emperor’s advisors to the titles offered by the king to his cronies.
The culture clash experienced by Gulliver and the people he encounters leads to questions about the way of life in England. Swift uses the probing questions offered during these encounters to critique British government and argue that the British are not necessarily superior to others.
Gulliver’s straightforward description of the customs and traditions of the people he encounters reflects Swift’s belief in the arbitrary nature of many human mores.
In his third voyage, Gulliver meets scientists who are performing ludicrous experiments with no practical application. Swift is critiquing the pursuit of science for its own sake rather than for solving practical human problems.