Theme of Human Nature in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

When a person meets someone new they try to recognize their human nature, whether it be how they act, speak, or train of thought. In Gulliver’s Travels, a fresh, astonishing surgeon set sails on an adventure on the sea. On his adventures Gulliver meets a vast variety of civilizations, with many different cultures and customs. Similar to Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels many other novels make connections ( in regards to human nature).

For example, Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Let’s start with Gulliver’s Travels, Gulliver met a manifold of civilizations in his journey to unknown lands that he reached on accident… Each land with a different custom, culture than the last. For example the Laputians, they were gifted in math and music, or the Houyhnhnm, a sophisticated species of intelligent horses that basically act very civilized and human like. An example of this is “The Curiosity and Impatience of my Master were so great, that he spent many Hours of his Leisure to instruct me.” Coming from part 4 when Gulliver was learning the language of the Houyhnhnm, I believe this displays that Swift admires ( or tolerates) people who are curious and want to explore. Albert Camus, a French philosopher, father of the absurdism ; wrote The Myth of Sisyphus. A story about a king who was punished by the greek gods to roll a boulder up a steep hill for the rest of eternity. He displays his human nature in the story by sacrificing himself in order to help the people of his land. Sisyphus created a creative idea in order to help the people of Corinth, By bargaining with an impatient God, he creatively got water for his people.”You have already grasped that Sisyphus is the absurd hero. He is, as much through his passions as through his torture.” Camus is known as the “father of absurdism”,absurdism is a philosophy where human exist is basically meaningless.

What was the purpose of even trying to roll up that huge boulder when it was going to roll down again? Well I’ve come to conclusion or an hypothesis (in this case). Sisyphus has the burning passion of youth! A rebellious spirit that is standing up for the man,the man in this case the people and standing up against Gods. A Similar example of this was when Swift wrote A Modest Proposal to stand up for the little guy ( Ireland) and to rebel against the Gods (England). From this I’ve come up with a conclusion, Swift also admires rebels. Heart of Darkness, a point of view of imperialism in the heart of Congo, Charles Marlow always interested in the “blank spaces” of the world; he sets off to explore by joining an ivory trade business. On the way to Congo, Marlow’s interest is peaked and wants to know more about Kurtz. Kurtz is a highly praised ivory agent. “America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration”.

Kurtz is lost in the darkness of Africa, in the “savage” customs of the locals, similar to when Gulliver was compared to a Yahoo, knowing that they are the same but thinking he is `superior. One human nature that stands out is in the story is Marlow’s persistent regardless of the consequences that could happen pushing upward the river in Africa. Swift is also very persistent, for example, “A Modest Proposal” which in result made all of England believe it’s hyperbolic ideals and inspired to push Ireland to stand up to Great Britain. Alexander Pope wrote a very long poem (or epic)It was basically an Essay On Man. The part I read was deep and meaningful, “Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;” God already knows who you are, but do you know who you are? It makes one think, who am I? What’s my human nature? Since this story doesn’t have a so called character, I going to use myself. I am ( from what I’ve been told) very stubborn, persistent, and very egotistical ( when it comes to certain things). The only thing that Swift would admire from me is my how persistent I am with everything. He has to respect the that I do not give up easily. Rebellious, and courage Is something I lack but persistent I do match him in. Postcolonialism, basically what happened after colonies were freed from their owners.

For example, The United States after they rebelled over England and become their own country. In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels he displays many examples of postcolonialism. In part four of Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels he lands on another random island that horses or in this case the Houyhnhnms, Gulliver gives the Master Horse a brief description of England’s history. “To clear up which, I endeavoured to give some ideas of the desire of power and riches; of the terrible effects of lust, intemperance, malice, and envy.” The Master Horse was confused, he didn’t comprehend why these things happen.

Gulliver gives the Master Horse three reasons why this happens: one, ambition to conquer (expansion of the empire) which is the result of postcolonialism. Two, corruption in the government, this is just not a Britain colonies, but a worldwide epidemic, nowadays a solid portion of the world’s governments are corrupt or have something “shady” going on. Thirdly, a difference in opinion, not only the main reason people fight but also go to war. For example, the wars against the Catholics and Muslims, and or just about every war that’s ever happened. Overall, the human nature that Swift find admirable is rebellious, courage, and persistence.


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