Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels is widely regarded as his masterpiece. This book is divided into four sections, each of which details one of Gulliver’s four journeys to fictional exotic locations. His first journey takes him to the land of the Lilliputians, a diminutive race. His journey then proceeds to Brobdingnag, the land of colossal giants. Gulliver’s journey continues to the reamers’ and idealists’ territory. His journey comes to an end when he arrives in the land of horses. Every book has a different theme, but they all share the characteristic of human nature being deflating. Jonathan Swift is the most renowned satirist in the English literature and was feared and admired at the same time for his effective and influential writings on the people who followed him then.
The satires by Jonathan Swift about human behaviour are very well observed in the movie Gulliver’s Travel. The critical thinking about the human behaviour in all aspects makes it retain its prominence in the history of English literature.
Satire in the Gulliver’s Travels
The conflict in the society of Britain in the 18th century is reflected in the Gulliver’s Travels. The novels reveal and encourage criticism of the corruption and sins committed by the ruling class of Britain. It also describes the cruelty and exploitation of the British ruling on the citizens of Britain and people of the neighbouring countries. The period referred to the time in the history of Britain when an accumulation of capital was being carried out. It could be noted that Gulliver gets treated differently in different countries. Swift has depicted every situation with a good length, and that is what makes the readers, and the audience of the movie feel like they are having a real life experience of their own. The great thing about the work lies in the proficient application of Jonathan Swift of satires that are profound and biting.
Analysis of the Movie
Contrasts, irony, and symbolism helped in obtaining the effects of satire to the maximum level. Jonathan Swift satirizes the religion and politics of Britain along with the nature of humans on a deep level. There is a presence of verbal, situational and dramatic irony in the movie. The verbal irony could be observed in the words that are used in opposite meaning.
The situational irony is caused at the times of conflicts between the situations and the characters. The contrast between the expectations of the audience and the consequences of the events or the difference between the objective facts and the personal endeavours are considered in the situational irony. The most prominent irony is the dramatic irony which occurs when the actions and words reflect significances that the audience comprehends but it is not understood by the character or the speaker.
The first part where Gulliver travels to the land of Lilliputs deals with the most ridiculous as well as amusing events that provide a very relaxed atmosphere to the audience. For instance, the scene where Gulliver saves the emperor’s wife and the palace is hilarious.
The scene is such that Gulliver describes how he saved the empress even in the state of being drunk. It is when the royal palace of the emperor is on fire. The stairs are too short, and water was far away to reach, it is then when Gulliver being drunk reaches the royal palace, urinates on the fire and saves the empress. Part I of the movies contains much of the verbal irony for example, the ignorance and arrogance of the Lilliputians are clearly reflected when they measure the height of Gulliver by Quadrant.
Swift makes a very good utilisation of the technique of the irony of the words in the instances that happen on the island of the Lilliputs. The verbal irony depicting the events on the Lilliputs’ islands is provoking, laughable, and seemingly ironic so as to obtain the satirical effects. The tone with which Gulliver depicts the events is completely serious. The verbal irony could also be observed in this instance (Swift & Williams). Swift implies through the representations of the warfare and reformation between the Protestants and Catholics, the difference between them, the difference between the Tories and Whigs, and between England and France to be meaningless and silly as being similar to selections made by any person to crack an egg. To add here, the controversy related to the egg is ridiculous as there is no right or wrong way to crack an egg.
Giant People Islands
In the second island, the satire of Swift is clarified in a better way where the attacks on human and political issues are more apparent. It is very much clear that Jonathan Swift begins expressing his discontent over Europe being the most dominant power of Europe and the colonialism practice on this island while considering the context of history for evidence (Eddy). From the farmer almost trampling him to making him perform to paying visitors, the main purpose of Swift in depicting events on the second island is to criticise the validation of different kinds of efficient knowledge that have more to show than to be of any help.
Gulliver’s Travel is rich in both meaning and content. The movie is filled with satires about humanity. Satires are constructed both explicitly and implicitly throughout the movie. However, the significance of the movie does not rely completely on the satires by Jonathan Swift. The disgust for human keeps on increasing as the narration increases. The movie is like a mirror by which one could find flaws in a human being reflected. The critical thinking about the human attitude and behaviour makes it worth remembering.
Eddy, William Alfred. “Gulliver’s travels: a critical study.” Princeton University Press, 1923.
Gulliver, Lemuel. “Gullivers Travels.” Youtube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H6uja2ZYTA&t=5005s.
Swift, Jonathan, and Sir Harold Herbert Williams. “Gulliver’s travels: 1726.” Ed. Herbert Davis, Vol. 11, Blackwell, 1965.