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Gulliver'S Travels (1726) by Swift, Jonathan ( Author ) ON Mar-15-2012, Paperback (Englisch)
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Through his travels Gulliver came to understand the strangeness of human being, motives, types of behavior and very different Weltanschauung of what he is accustomed to. His philosophy is wonderfully packed with wit, humor, logic and prudence, so that the reader will find difficulty to lay the book aside letting a travel unread. The book consists mainly of four stories; in the fist two he discussed at length political systems and the relationship between the elite and the folk. In his last two travels he goes in depth to ponder about maladies of the human nature--like envy, greed, power and so forth.
In Lilliput, a land in which a wishy-washy political system reigns, he witnessed an atmosphere of war between two islands because both differed on how to cut an egg. Although their holy book states "tell the believers to cut the egg from the convenient side", they couldn't find a path to settle their differences peacefully. Pondering about human history of wars, their reasons and about why thousands of people had to fall and perish one would come to the conclusion that our reasons were not higher valued as the wars between those to islands and cutting the egg.
In Brobdingnag, land of the Giants, he happened to learn that life can only be explored, seen and thought of from different perspectives. His encounter with the King of Brobdingnag and his discourse with him regarding politics, jurisprudence, state-management and state-finance gave Gulliver the first devastating blow of his understanding of these matters. The king strokes on his shoulder and concludes: "I observe among you, some line of an institution, which in its original might have been tolerable; but these half erased, and the rest fully blurred and blotted by corruption". Gulliver was admittedly not bemused by this verdict.
Indeed the real fascination begins when Gulliver got the chance to review lively history of great empires and emperors as they were; the reason for their decay-which differ largely from what we had learnt-the quest for power and the absurdity of the human being of wanting to achieve it by all means. In Struldbrugg, he was introduced to the immortals, and was asked what he would have done if he were born as immortal. He, innocently, expresses exhilaration and great joy in narrating his wishes, which were met by some laughters of the indigenous. No reader can escape the melancholy caused by the description of how those immortals in reality lived and suffered, and how absence of the notion of death has changed their nature to worse.
The tone, the passion and the feelings got clearly intensified, and even were transformed to rage and resentment, when he had landed in the Land of Houyhnhnms. Gulliver is no longer the innocent and honest observer, and the reader will inevitably be taken by the force of his analysis and observations. His conversations with the Master-Horse about the Yahoos (the human race) their habits, nature, rulers, relationships, men and women lead Gulliver to fall in a profound sadness. Indeed the account is deeply shocking to any thoughtful reader especially when the Master tells him that "the Yahoos were known to hate one another more than any different spices of animals; and the reason usually assigned, was, the odiousness of their own shapes, which all could see in the rest, but not in themselves". At the end of his travels he chose solitary out of contempt for the yahoo race, to discover that his own happiness lies in his own breast, when the harmony between reason and heart is in equilibrium.
Although Swift had not witnessed any World War his profound knowledge of human abysm make his work timelessly insightful and beautiful.
Is it an exaggeration to ask, how would Plato have formulated his thoughts, had he read Gulliver's travel? Would the Republic remain the same?
THE SECOND VOYAGE -Gulliver himself makes in his comments some links between the first and the second voyage . They are linked on the very device they are based: the relative size . The device is a satiric one . - the brobdingnags are large men and as a result of this we see clearly our phisical graceness . - Gulliver has to face different degrating physical adventures . - He is put in a cage like an animal . - Swift let us understand that physical size means moral largeness . Giants are generous , warm and human . The Brobningnag will remanin an ideal in this respect , as they are reffered to in the last chapter of the book . - B. is not a perfect state ; it has beggars and men who exploit others . The B. visited by Gulliver is fortunate in its monarch , who unlike the emperor in Liliput , is very good with his subjects . He refuses to accept Gulliver`s offer of the secret of the gunpowder ; he is an enlighted king who loves his people and wants to do his best for his subjects moral and physical state .
THE 3RD BOOK - it was in fact the last book to be written by swift . It is not so closely connected with the other two and thus it is less satisfactory . - presents the flying island of Laputa . - the island has a politcal reference . what is satirized is the abstract thinking . People are normal in size , but distorted in physical appearance . - they have no eye for the outworld ,for reality . - their human shape is distorted by their loss of human quality ; they live in a world of phantasy . - the capital prooduce a certain atmosphere in which man`s activity is replaced by the chance of a machine . - the excessive intellectualism of the flying island led to separation from the real world .
THE 4TH BOOK
- Guliver is in relation with the Yakoo`s bodies on one side and horses rational mind on the other side . The 4th voyage with its theme differing creatures is a synthesis of both reason and passion . Gulliver stresses strongly on the physical unpleasantness of the Yahoos and their habits , which are a version of all passion for jewel and gold . They are the corrupt passion entirely divorced from the reason . -
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