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The Enlightenment In Gullivers Travels

Jonathan Swift's book, Gulliver's Travels outlines a very peculiar sequence of occurrences that are experienced by a sailor known as Lemuel Gulliver. Throughout these ventures, Gulliver sees himself, on four different occasions, accidently coming across different races of peoples and animals. These races educate him new languages, traditions, lessons, and basic knowledge of their own specific societies. These descriptions are often believed to be Jonathan Swift's way of critiquing The Enlightenment that occurred through the eighteenth-century all over the world. This critique brings a satirical take a look at religious beliefs, morality, equality, and the ability to adapt to other societies.

In Gulliver's first trip, he results in the land of Lilliput. Within this land, there are two sets of people, the Lilliputans and the Belfescuans. These two groups of men and women used to be one modern culture until there is a disagreement over how the individuals were to crack their eggs. The disagreement was if they should crack their eggs from the large end or the tiny end of the egg. Because of this disagreement, there was a war and many people passed on and the Belfescuans decided to move to the other part of the island and start their own world (Swift, 25). This disagreement of breaking eggs is a comparison to the spiritual differences developing in Europe right before the Enlightenment. Although the Lilliputan's disagreement over cracking eggs is a more minuscule and quite primary disagreement than those of religions through the Reformation, you may still find some evaluations. The spiritual reformations commenced when Martin Luther made the decision that there have been a number of things about the Catholic Chapel that he disagreed with. When Martin Luther went to the church to complain about these issues, such as the capacity to "buy" indulgences from priests, the church dismissed these ideas. Therefore, after submitting the 95 Theses on his thoughts for change and distributing his ideas, Luther made the decision it was a chance to branch from the Chapel. Although Luther was one of the beginning revolutionists to not in favor of Catholicism, there is hundreds of others who implemented in his footsteps to make societies that could act with techniques that they thought were just. Likewise, the Belfescuans were made when the then-emperor slice his palm breaking an egg large-end first and chosen eggs should in truth be broken small-end first. Following this declaration, there was a split among the list of society and both societies were made to break eggs as they pleased (Swift, 25-26).

On Gulliver's second accidental trip, he comes after a land of giants in Brobdingnag who are a simple people, it seems. Unaware of the technology of gunpowder, Gulliver demonstrates the goal of gunpowder to the ruler of Brobdingnag. The ruler becomes very frightened and decides that he will not want anything regarding the gunpowder, thinking about what kind of physical and moral devastation this could cause to his empire (Swift, 94). This is similar to the ideas of many Enlightenment thinkers, like Cesare Beccaria, who assumed that humans should commence going for a more moral and rational methodology at punishing criminals. While using absence of gunpowder, Brobdingnag has had the opportunity to keep crime rates low and overall morality high, it appears. Swift alludes that the release of such a weapon may lead to inhumane practices, like the unfair punishments which were handed out before the Enlightenment (Coffin, 457). These unfair punishments, however were criticized by many philosophers of the Enlightenment, which sparked more humane techniques for punishing criminals.

Slavery is also a big concern during Gulliver's moves. Whether when Gulliver was first captured outside of Lilliput, or whether it was during the time he was captured in Brobdingnag. Swift compares Gulliver to a slave through the Enlightenment. Many Enlightenment thinkers were too afraid to abolish slavery in fear of any revolts that might happen. "Slavery corrupted its victims, destroyed their natural virtue, and smashed their natural love of liberty. Enslaved people, by this reasoning, weren't ready for flexibility" (Coffin, 461). This is how the Lilliputans noticed with Gulliver. They were afraid that if indeed they let Gulliver be free all together, that he would be furious and eliminate their properties and get rid of their citizens. That is why they only allowed Gulliver small freedoms over extended periods of time, so they will make sure that he was not a threat to contemporary society. With this continuous sense of flexibility, Gulliver proved to have designed to the Lilliputan's modern culture and turned out to be very useful locally. The Enlightenment thinkers also thought that offering slaves small amounts of liberty would make for an easier move into population (Coffin, 461).

As well as the equality of slaves, another main theme throughout Swift's book is the thought of equality for those persons. THROUGH THE Enlightenment, there have been social, economical, erotic and a great many other inequalities among different kinds of people. Swift comes with this thought when Gulliver is in the land of the Houyhnhnms. With this land, there are Houyhnhnms, who are in essence a group of wise horses. Also, there are Yahoos who are a odd family pets that are comparable to a human (Swift, 165). The Houyhnhms are a lot more superior and intellectually advanced than the Yahoos. Though it seems ironical that horses are superior to a human-like being, this is a means of demonstrating how, for example, some thought that men were more advanced than women. Jean-Jacques Rousseau fought for many rights for folks and the theory that people should not be ruled by the administration unless they thought we would. However, he still presumed that men should be superior to women in virtually all aspects. This is much like the Houyhnhms being superior to all Yahoos, without any regard for improving the brains or social status of the Yahoos. Through the Enlightenment, women, such as Mary Wollstonecraft, started out to make strides towards equality with men. Just as Rousseau likened the inequalities of men and women to restricting women's obligations to "being a mother and partner" (Coffin, 463), Swift shows that the inequalities of the Houyhnhms and the Yahoos as being very large and that the Yahoos weren't to be utilized for much except labor (Swift, 172).

Not only will Swift discuss the ruling of individual sets of people, but he also discussed the point of societies dropping under strict rule. In Gulliver's trip to Laputa, he is told the countless ways that the island all together can be used to rule over the cities on the ground. They rule by using the ultimate power to be able to control weather and cause severe destruction to towns (Swift, 124). Swift is alluding that the island of Laputa is comparable to that of absolutist rulers in Great britain. Absolutist rulers have almost all power to do just about anything they would like to those that they rule. However, much like the town that successfully rebelled up against the floating island of Laputa, such philosophers as David Hume and Immanuel Kant trained people that they must only be ruled if and by whom they want to be ruled. In the event in Gulliver's Travels, the location below the island did not desire to be ruled by the floating island, so they took action and were able to set up their own federal government to live a life by their own society's criteria (Swift, 126).

Throughout all four islands that Gulliver comes across, he learns a new, totally different, approach to life at each island. Whether if this calls for a new dialect at each island, new types of food, or various ways to govern, Gulliver adapts to each and sees strengths in each society's rules and realizes that their guidelines are well-suited for their given needs. This capability for Gulliver to conform relates to the power of societies around the world to learn and admit new civilizations and ideas from each other through the Enlightenment. This pass on of cultures has allowed societies to adjust ideas that enable the betterment of these society. Although Swift requires a very comical view of this using examples including the simple fact that the peoples of Laputa must be strike with "flappers" in order to talk or to pay attention, this still demonstrates some societies act diversely and Gulliver had to adapt also when you are hit many times on the ears and mouth area while in dialogue with the Laputans (Swift, 114).

Throughout Jonathan Swift's novel, Gulliver's Travels, there a wide range of satirical relationships between Swift's adventures and the incidents in the Enlightenment of the eighteenth-century. These relationships are usually very extreme, but do provide parallels, sometimes criticizing, main themes or templates of events during the Enlightenment. Throughout his moves, Gulliver becomes a better-rounded person from discussion with creatures of all sorts. Similarly to Gulliver, the Enlightenment period position the world as a whole under massive changes in technology, culture and faith. These changes have allowed for the successes and downfalls of today's modern culture as we realize it.

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