Gulliver's Travels: Satire on a Nation

Jonathan Swift?s, Gulliver?s Travels satirically relates bodily functions and physical attributes to social issues during England?s powerful rule of Europe. Through out the story we find many relations between bodily features and British and European society. Swift uses this tone of mockery to explain to his reader the importance of many different topics during this time of European rule. Swift feels that the body and their functions relate to political as well as the ration of a society. Swift?s fascination with the body comes from its unproblematic undertone which gives his audience recognizable parallelism to many issues such as political change and scientific innovation.

Gulliver?s first adventure takes place in Lilliput. Gulliver swims to a foreign shore after his boat and rowboat capsize due to a fierce storm. Washed upon the shore, Gulliver finds himself tied to the grass surrounded by little bodied people called the Lilliputians. The Lilliputians stood no more than six inches high. During this time Swift recognized that England was also a kind of six inch being that had great influence in Europe. Swift wrote Gulliver?s Travel?s during a time when Europe was the worlds most dominant and influential force. England, despite its small size, had the potential to defeat any nation that might try to conquer them. Swift relates this phenomenon to the small stature of the Lilliputians. They stood a mere six inches high but had the power to siege the mammoth Gulliver. The capability of a nation consisting of miniature people, who are able to capture someone ten-times their size can be seen as reinforcing the capability of a small nation, such as England, becoming and remaining a great power. Even though this is true, Swift entices a condescending tone to Gulliver?s portrayal of the small Lilliputians, who easily fit into the hands of Gulliver, yet still manage to threaten his life.

Even though the Lilliputians are piteously small in Gulliver?s eyes, they do not see themselves the same way. To themselves, the Lilliputians feel they are normal and Gulliver remains the outlandish giant. The unexpected infringement of giant Gulliver into the Lilliputians well-developed society reminds the European society, that size and strength are always relative, and there is no way for Europe to be certain that a Gulliver-like giant, might not arrive and conquer them at any moment. This encounter, between Gulliver and the Lilliputians would put Europe?s confidence in its power in jeopardy. Swift made sure that this message got across to humble the society of England.

In chapter three we see the advance of Gulliver in the Lilliputians society. During the process of integrating Gulliver finds that their culture is based around trivial issues. These trivial issues can be looked at as subsequent to their small stature. Gulliver finds that their government officials are chosen by rope dancing. To Gulliver and the reader these practices are ridiculous and arbitrary, but to the Lilliputians who do not need extravagant things because of their size, see these practices as normal. Swift uses this scene to satire the British government at this time. The British government also elected their ministers in a trivial manner. In order to receive freedom from the Lilliputians, Gulliver must help them in battle. Gulliver 's agreement to the terms provided in his contract to stay on the island for his freedom came not from exceeding force from the Lilliputians, for Gulliver could crush their entire city with his colossus body size and weight compared to the Lilliputians. The Lilliputians were so secure in their laws and rules, where they felt their laws could even rule this great bodily giant with them. Noticeably the audience sees that Gulliver can easily crush the tiny Lilliputians, but he decides out of the kindness of his heart not to forcefully become free. Once this great body inquires his freedom, there will be no way for these small humans to thrust their laws upon him. Trying to control outside forces were also flaws that Europe processed at this time. We again see how Gulliver feels that land is control by people and not land controlling itself. When the audience sees that Europe remains controlled by human bodily egos, this makes his satire even more convincing and critical.

In the next chapters, the Lilliputians let Gulliver receive his freedom, at the same time they realize