If anything, this satire is even tougher on the King and the government than the first one. It takes less care to hide what it is really talking about. The King, Prime Minister and the sensor at the time Swift wrote, must have known what he was talking about. One of the reasons I enjoyed this so much was that I got a sense of danger from it. Swift is walking a very thin line between openly criticising the King and keeping it well hidden enough. I also enjoy the gap between the language and what is described, as I have said. I also think that what Swift wrote still means something today.
The newspapers are full of stories about Tony Blair and the way he surrounds himself with people who praise him and agree with him. Perhaps works like Swift's last and are still read today, because human nature doesn't change very much. Powerful people still promote their friend's hundreds of years after Swift wrote. It is a common belief that 'Gulliver's Travels', written by Jonathan Swift in the 1720's, is a satirical text written on the cultural practises of the British society of that time. Gulliver's Travels", is a text that follows the travels of the main character Gulliver, through four different fantasylands.
In the first voyage, he is shipwrecked on Lilliput, a small land, whose inhabitants are on average less than six inches high. Lilliput, in conjunction with the three other lands, all portray elements of the British society in the 1720's. In his text, Swift uses satire to criticise and ridicule certain elements of British society. Satire, which is a use of mock or exaggerated humour to slyly ridicule faults etc, adds a general tone of sarcasm to the text. In "A Voyage to Lilliput", Swift uses satire to slyly and humorously criticise British society, the same society that he wrote the text for, so that it may see its own faults.
Three particularly notable social/cultural practises in this land were the trivialities of war, ingratitude of humanity, and the arbitrary ways of the government. Gulliver's Travels is said to be a satirical text focusing on the cultural practises of the British society of that time. It firstly satirizes the trivialities of war. Swift achieves this in the voyage to Lilliput, by showing that both the British and Lilliputian wars were fought for small and trivial reasons. In Lilliput, Swift shows this element two weeks after Gulliver obtains his liberty.
Swift proceeds to explain the meeting of Reldresal and Gulliver. Reldresal, the Principle Secretary of Private Affairs explains the war raging between the two great empires of this certain area, Lilliput and Blefuscu. The reason for this Great War was an argument between the two nations over which end one shall break an egg before it is eaten. This satirizes the reasons over which many British and European wars were fought over. An example of this is the war between Ireland and Britain, which was fought over an equally ridiculous and petty reason.
Another trait of the British society that is satirized in this text is humanity's ingratitude. This is achieved in "A voyage to Lilliput" where the Emperor's wife's apartment catches on fire. Gulliver is aroused from sleep by the Lilliputians and asked to extinguish the fire. He leaves in such panic and rush that he leaves his coat behind. When at the fire he finds that the Lilliputians buckets of water are useless and without his coat to extinguish the fire he simply urinates on the fire. Soon after this event he decides to leave Lilliput and to "travel" to Blefuscu.
He is then visited by a court official, and is told that he is charged with treason. He is also shown the document that calls for his execution (blinding); the worst of his crimes displayed on here is his public urination. This great act of ingratitude on behalf of the Lilliputians, in turn satirizes and shows Swifts' disgust at the many acts of common ingratitude that were performed daily by the British society, by the aristocrats in particular. The final element of British society that is satirized in "A Voyage to Lilliput" is the arbitrary ways of the government.
This is shown in the manuscript the Emperor decides to entertain Gulliver, which includes a performance of "Rope Dancing. " Rope Dancing is the Emperors method of selecting government officials. The applicants must dance and jump on slender threads that are suspended a mere two feet above the ground. Whichever dancer jumps the highest receives the position. This satirizes the arbitrary ways in which many such positions were bestowed in Britain. Positions were often allocated in accordance with social standing, favours to the aristocracy and in return for pecuniary benefits.
The arbitrary ways of the British government are successfully satirized in "A Voyage to Lilliput", through an entrance test of rope dancing which symbolized, the ways in which positions were bestowed in Britain. Throughout much of Part I, Swift satirizes European practices by implicitly comparing them to outrageous Lilliputian customs. In Chapter VI, however, Gulliver describes a number of unusual Lilliputian customs that he presents as reasonable and sensible. This chapter, which implicitly describes improvements that could be made in European society, is less satirical and ironic than the previous chapters.
We may infer that Swift approves of many of these institutions. Clearly, there is a good case to be made for treating fraud as a more serious crime than theft and for making false testimony a capital crime. The very fabric of society depends upon trust, so dishonesty may be even more damaging than theft and violence. In general, the customs of Lilliput that Swift presents as good are those that contribute to the good of the community or the nation as opposed to those that promote individual rights or freedoms.
Ingratitude is punishable by death, for instance, because anybody who would treat a benefactor badly must be an enemy to all mankind. Children are raised by the community rather than by their parents because parents are thinking only of their own appetites when they conceive children. Children are raised in public nurseries, but parents are financially penalized if they burden society by bringing children for whom they cannot pay into the world.