Writing Style In Gulliver's Travels

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The satirical writing style of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels creates a confusing aura surrounding the themes projected in the elaborate story. Gulliver encounters the Lilliputian Nation in his first book of travels. To the naked eye it is difficult to interpret the deeper meaning behind the exaggerated practices of the native people. However, John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government provides a basis of historical knowledge to interpret Swift’s work with greater clarity. The governmental and societal views of Locke’s Second Treatise of Government enhance the satirical ideologies implemented throughout Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The first major similarity between the two texts can be seen through the difference in size between …show more content…
In the eyes of their government, false accusations are subject to capital punishment. Violent crimes are even seen as less tragic relative to crimes of honesty. Locke also alludes to the importance of honesty when electing rulers and the dangers of allowing too much freedom to them. When an official is elected there is a large amount of trust between the elected official and the people, which they will act on behalf of their common good. Honesty is very undervalued in the politics in Europe during the time Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels. His satirical phrasing of the governmental practices in the Lilliputian nation made it difficult to fully grasp whether or not Gulliver agrees with their ideas. However, this is not the case when speaking in regards to honesty. “They look upon fraud as a greater crime than theft, and therefore seldom fail to punish it with death; for they allege, that care and vigilance, with a very common understanding, may preserve a man’s goods from thieves, but honesty has no defense against superior cunning; […] The honest dealer is always undone, and the knave gets the advantage” (Swift, 55). This touches upon Locke’s issues with political successors. In chapter 15 of Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, he explains that successors may want the same freedom his predecessor had without earning it. The role of an official grows as trust grows. The successor cannot abuse this power or they can be overthrown. This is an issue in today’s politics as well. While complete honesty may be a stretch, stronger punishment against those who attempt to take advantage of the sincerity of people may be hindered. The natives of Lilliput feared the capital punishment associated with dishonesty. In the Lilliputian society, honesty is a cornerstone in their government showing the reluctance of the Europeans to value this

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