Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) was an author, journalist, and political activist. He is best known for his satirical novel Gulliver’s Travel and satirical essay on the Irish famine, “A Modest Proposal.” ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is a book of fantasy, satire and political allegory, and it is much liked in all ages. He wrote Gulliver’s Travels in 1725, and it was published in 1726. The book got a great success throughout the British Empire and earned the titles of writer and commentator of great quality and reputation for the author. In this book, the travel of Gulliver, a surgeon on a merchant ship, is made to four imaginary countries. So, the book is divided into four parts. His first travel is to Lilliput whose inhabitants are about six inches tall. His second visit is to Brobdingnag, the country of the giants. His third visit is to the Islands of Laputa and Legedo, inhabited by philosophers and scientists, keeping love for music and mathematics. His last visit is to the land of the Honyhnhnms and Yahoos. They are rational and civilized horses, and the yahoos are unreasonable and bestial human beings, completely dirty.
Before discussing the symbols of his work, ‘The Gulliver’s Travel’, we should know something about the literary term ‘symbol’. The word’ Symbol’ is derived from Late Latin word ‘Symbolum’ means token, sign or emblem. It is, indeed, the ornament of literature. The author uses it to expose all the hidden things or the philosophy of work honestly to the readers, as they may not face to any difficulties to be understood. If such thing happened, the work would not be interesting and helpful for representing the age. It is evident that Jonathan Swift has used symbols to convey his ideas to the readers by making it easier with the help of it. Keeping in view all things, we can say that a symbol is something that stands for something else. In Gulliver’s Travels, everything stands for something else because it is written for the purpose of criticizing contemporary philosophies and customs. Nearly every person in this book stands either for a historical figure or for an idea.
Let’s survey the symbols used in his work, The Gulliver’s Travel’.
In the first book, Swift narrates Gulliver’s visit to Lilliputians, the six- inch inhabitants. They represent the symbol of extreme pride of mankind. The author represents the race ironically. He finds that they are small creatures with small minds, but they are the stock of backbiting and conspiracy; despite it, they consider themselves grand. Gulliver comes under the spell of their vain-glory and is made credulous by their threats of punishment, although the race has no real physical power over him. Gulliver learns more about Lilliputians’ culture and the great difference in size between him and the race. It is explicit satire of British government. Gulliver finds Lilliputian government officials are chosen by their skill at rope dancing which is recognized arbitrary and ridiculous. It symbolizes England’s system of political appointment that is …Read more