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DEVELOPMENT OF GULLIVER’S OUTLOOK

AND MENTALITY IN THE COURSE OF HIS
VOYAGES IN “GULLIVER’S TRAVELS”:
From Optimism to Pessimism and Cynicism:

In the beginning of the book, we find Gulliver to be a normal, cheerful kind of man
with an optimistic outlook upon life and an adventurous spirit. No man can voluntarily
undertake dangerous voyages without having an optimistic attitude towards life. At the end
of the book we find that Gulliver has become pessimistic, cynical and averse to the company
of his fellow human beings and even the members of his own family. Such a development
cannot be described as regeneration or a healthy and welcome development. But let us first
examine the circumstances which serve as a basis for the view that the first three voyages
underline Gulliver’s human frailty while the voyage to the Houyhnhnms shows his
regeneration.

Gulliver, an apologist of the Human Race in the First Three Voyages:

During the first three voyages Gulliver remains more or less a champion or at least an
apologist of the human race, while the fourth voyage makes him fully aware of the
irrationality and follies of mankind. Gulliver’s unawareness or fragmentary realization of the
follies and absurdities of mankind in the first three voyages may be interpreted as showing
his human frailty, while his full and complete realization of the unreason and brutishness of
human beings in the fourth voyage shows his awakening to the true facts, and may therefore
be regarded as a regeneration and a welcome development. In the first three voyages,
Gulliver continues to identify himself with the human species, but during his stay with the
Houyhnhnms in the fourth part of the book he tries to disown his relationship with mankind
and to cut himself from the company of his fellows.

This does not mean that in Lilliput or the other countries during his three voyages, Gulliver is
completely blind to human follies. In Lilliput, he is greatly amused to witness the absurdities
and weaknesses of the inhabitants. There are conflicts between the Big-Endians and the
Small-Endians. There are also conflicts and factions represented by the High-Heels and the
Low-Heels. Gulliver becomes aware of a number of faults and follies of the people in Lilliput,
but remains tolerant towards the people. Swift is of course portraying the human race these
diminutives. And we too understand Swift’s meaning and purpose, but Gulliver does not
connect the shortcomings of these pigmies with the human race to which he himself belongs.

In part II of the book, Gulliver feels greatly disgusted with the physical coarseness of the
Brobdingnagians, but does not realize that these people are only magnified images of the
members of the human species. He talks to the King here of his own beloved country
England, his country’s trade, the conflict in religion, the political parties, the wars by sea and
land. Gulliver feels almost proud to talk of these matters. It is the King who deflates Gulliver
by remarking, “How contemptible a thing was human grandeur which could be mimicked by
such diminutive insects as Gulliver”. Gulliver is offended with these remarks and again boasts
about his country. Now here again we understand Swift’s purpose: Swift is obviously ironical
in writing all this.

In part III of the book, Gulliver has given the account of a flying island, Laputa. These people
too have their absurdities and shortcomings. They are preoccupied with music and geometry.
There people remain so busy in meditation that they have no time to make love with their

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If the matter had really ended here. M. Somroo M. He has become a complete hater of mankind. Written & Composed By: Prof. Gulliver’s Total Misanthropy at the End not a sign of Regeneration: The matter does not. Gulliver is now no longer with the human beings. and the corruption of his people and his ministers. This kind of misanthropy is necessary if we aim at reforming or improving the state of affairs in human society. however.A. Gulliver here condemns the human race without finding any extenuating circumstances. Gulliver’s Supposed Regeneration in Part IV: In part IV.wives. English. Gulliver now becomes a conscious critic and censor of the human race. and it is this development which is regarded as his regeneration. He is in fact overcome by a feeling of shame and horror that he had copulated with a female member of the human species and begotten children of that species. we could probably have accepted the view that this development shows Gulliver’s regeneration and is therefore welcome to us. Gulliver has now lost the desire to return to his country. Far from taking the side of human beings. In short. Gulliver here becomes keenly aware of the dishonesty of the people of his own race and of certain foolish notions which they entertain.A. A. there is a further development. This kind of misanthropy can only lead to one’s committing suicide. But Gulliver’s misanthropy goes further and touches the extreme limits imaginable. Another feature of their thinking is their obsessive fear that they believe a great cosmic disaster will soon overtake this planet and destroy it. Gulliver is also shocked to find that the Yahoos in this country bear a close resemblance to human beings and that these Yahoos in their conduct and behavior are not only crude and uncivilized but beastly. Education Cell: 03339971417 2 . Gulliver is wonderstruck to see how Houyhnhnms are wholly governed by reason and how well organized their society is. end here. Gulliver now becomes fully aware of the ugliness and repulsiveness of the life of human beings and he can see that there is a different way of life possible. In the opinion of some commentators. Gulliver has gone mad and is therefore not to be taken seriously. He tells the master Houyhnhnms about the way of life the natives lead in his country. He in his own person denounces human beings.R.

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