Gullivers Travels - Satire

Satire combines a serious manner with humour and wittiness so that “institutions of man’s devising may be remodelled.” Satire’s very purpose is to critically assess the nature of society and inspire innovative outlooks, whilst driving reform through identifying hypocrisy an aim to better society. Swift sees a satirist’s role as being “to cure the vices of mankind” and hence remarks on the foolish and corrupt nature of people and society. Through Gulliver’s Travels and ‘A Modest Propoal’ Swift draws attention to how human beings fall short of being ideal. His purpose is to “vex” rather than to “divert.” Ewald directly states that, “As a satire, the main purpose of Gulliver’s Travels is to show certain shortcomings in 18th Century English Society.
In Gulliver’s Travels, Swift   doesn’t use a fantastical style – one that made no claim to truth or accuracy – would have weakened the satire whereas a factional reportorial style serves as an ideal tool for biting commentary on the pettiness of human nature and the political and religious institutions of the era. In Gulliver’s Travels, Swift comments on the foolish and corrupt nature of people and society by imitating the style of a standard travelogue which is seemingly based on fact. This contrast serves to exaggerate the absurdity of the people and places which Gulliver comes in contact.
In Book 1 of the Travels, the Lilliputians standing “not six inches high” are an ironic comment on humanity’s widely excessive pride in itself. Lilliputian society described as Utopian by them preferring “good morals” to “great ability” and seeing “ingratitude” as a “capital crime” is in fact revealed as a comic distortion of life in Europe and the clash between theory and fact is a technique to provoke a critical response. Swift’s depicts ‘Rope Dancers’, ‘thread prizes’ and ‘horse entertainment’. The various trivial activities, such as ‘Rope Dancers’where ‘whoever jumps the highest without falling, succeeds in office’, satirises the...