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Reason in Gulliver's Travel

Uploaded by superhiskal on Feb 08, 2002

During the beginning of the 18th century, satire grew; and the most famous writers who wrote satirically were Pope and Swift. This period, often called the "Age of Reason," was highly influenced by a group of the elite of society, who called themselves the Augustans and were determined to live their lives according to "truth" and "reason.” The satire of both Swift and Pope is animated by moral urgency and heightened by tragic sense of doom. Pope saw the issue as a struggle between Darkness and Light, Chaos and Order, Barbarism and Civilization. For Swift the issue was one between “right reason” and “madness”- not clinical insanity, but blindness to anything but one’s own private illusions, which is an abandonment of practical reality.

Jonathan Swift was the greatest rival to Pope in the field of satire, his genius is so powerful and varied and so mysterious that any summary of his work is bound to be ridiculously over-simplified. Swift was also one of the most devastating critics of the contemporary scene, while the range of the targets he chose makes him one of the most comprehensive. His most contentious and his greatest work, however, was a series of chronicled voyages known as Gulliver's Travels. “Gulliver’s Travel” was published in 1726. Because it can be read as a fantasy novel, a story for children, and a social satire, its tales of dwarves, giants, floating islands and talking horses have long entertained readers from every age group. It has often been issued with long passages omitted, particularly those concerning bodily functions and other distasteful topics. Even without these passages, however, Gulliver's Travels serves as a biting satire, and Swift ensures that it is both humorous and critical, constantly criticizing British and European society through its descriptions of imaginary countries. Also, there is a general tone of mockery in the text, echoing the sarcastic voice found in other works by Swift. Gulliver is sometimes wise, sometimes foolish, but always eager to please his new masters. The sarcastic tone of the text sets Swift himself as a kind of foil to Gulliver; unlike his protagonist, Swift's purpose was no doubt to annoy the leaders of Britain rather than please them. Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels at a time of political change and scientific invention, and many of the events he describes in the book can easily be linked to contemporary events in Europe. One of...

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Uploaded by:   superhiskal

Date:   02/08/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   11 pages (2,516 words)

Views:   2084

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