Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is an author, journalist and political activist. He is best known for his satirical novel Gulliver's Travels and the satirical essay on Irish Hunger, The Fashion Proposal. Gulliver's Travels is a book about fantasy, satire and political allegory and is well-liked in all ages. He wrote Gulliver's Travels in 1725, and it was published in 1726. The book was a great success throughout the British Empire and won titles as a writer and commentator with high quality and reputation as an author. In this book, Gulliver, a merchant ship surgeon, made the trip to four imaginary countries. So the book is divided into four parts. His first trip is to Lilliput, whose inhabitants are about six inches tall. His second visit is to Brobdingnag, the land of the Giants. His third visit is to the islands of Laputa and Legedo, inhabited by philosophers and scholars who maintain a love for music and mathematics. His last visit was to the land of Honyhnhnms and Yahoos. They are rational and civilized horses, and yhahoos are insane and atrocious human beings, completely dirty.
Before discussing the symbols of his work Gulliver's Journey, we must know something about the literary term "symbol." The word "symbol" is derived from the Latin word "Symbolum" later to mean a sign, sign or emblem. Indeed, it is an ornament of literature. The author uses it to reveal all hidden things or the philosophy of the work honestly to the readers as they may not face any difficulties to be understood. If such a thing happened, the work would not be interesting and useful to represent the era. It is evident that Jonathan Swift used symbols to convey his ideas to readers, facilitating it with the help of him. Considering all things, we can say that a symbol is something that means something else. In Gulliver's Travels, everything means something else because it is written to critique contemporary philosophies and customs. Almost every person in this book stands for either a historical figure or an idea.
Let's explore the symbols used in his work, Gulliver's Journey.
In the first book, Swift talks about Gulliver's visit to the Lilliputians, a six-inch resident. They represent the symbol of humanity's extraordinary pride. The author presents the race ironically. He discovers that they are small beings with a small mind, but they are a stock of backstory and conspiracy; nevertheless, they are considered great. Gulliver falls under the spell of their vain glory and is made credulous by his threats of punishment, though race has no real physical power over him. Gulliver learns more about the culture of midgets and the great difference in size between race and race. This is an explicit satire of the British Government. Gulliver finds that Lilliput's government officials are selected for their ability to dance with a rope that has been recognized as arbitrary and ridiculous. It symbolizes England's political appointment system, which is arbitrary. The difference in their size symbolizes the importance of physical strength. Gulliver can crush the Lilliputians by walking carelessly, but does not realize his own insignificance, which symbolizes their insanity. They keep Gulliver tied, believing they can control him. Swift symbolizes it as humanity's hollow claim to power and importance.
Swift is very careful about his satire and the use of symbols. The articles signed by Gulliver to win his freedom are in an official and only important language, symbolizing a meaningless and self-contradictory piece of paper because Gulliver is a symbol of great power and strength. It may break all connections for its own safety. The story of the conflict between Lilliput and Blefuscu is ridiculous. The high and low heels symbolize the wiggles and tories of English politics. Lilliput and Blefuscu symbolize England and France. The violent conflict between the great Indians and the little endians symbolizes the Protestant Reformation and centuries of war between Catholics and Protestants. So, European history is like a series of brutal wars for meaningless and arbitrary differences. The conflict "how one chooses to break an egg" is a symbol of stupidity and triviality. It is ridiculous and unreasonable to conclude that there is no right or wrong way of worship. Swift suggests that the Christian Bible can be interpreted in more than one way. It is ridiculous for people to struggle to interpret it when one is not sure that one's interpretation is correct and others wrong.
The Lilliputian emperor is a symbol of tyranny, cruelty and corruption, and he is obsessed with a ceremony showing an unchanging symbol of mismanagement. It is also a bittersweet satire of the English King George I (1714 to 1727) during much of Swift's career. He has no admiration for the King. Empress Lilliputian means Queen Anne, who has blocked Swift's progress in the Church of England by being offended by some of her earlier satires. Gulliver's urination in her neighborhood is Swift's Tale of the Bathtub. The Empress's reluctance to urge Gulliver is similar to Queen Anne's criticism of Swift's work and her efforts to limit his prospects in the Church of England. In fact, his urination symbolizes his ability to control midgets. It illustrates the importance of physical strength. Gulliver does not obey the order of the emperor to destroy the fleet of Blefuscu and signs his feelings of responsibility to all creatures. Gulliver finds himself able to change the Lilliputian society forever. There is a reference to an army between Lilliput and Blefuscu symbolizing their patriotic glory with such proud marching of armies. The request of the Emperor Lilliput to Gulliver to serve as a sort of improvised Arc de Triomphe for the crossing of troops is a pitiful reminder that their grand parade is extremely stupid. The war with Blefuscu is a symbol of the absurdity that comes from wounded vanity. Hence the Lilliputians symbolize lost human pride, and this shows Gulliver's inability to diagnose it properly.
In Book II (Part II), Jonathan Swift talks about Gulliver's visit to the Giants Island. Walking here is not a symbol of danger for Borbingdnagh, as it was when he visited Lilliput, because the situation is reversed. Borbdingnagians represent English ways. After a brief stint as a working freak, Gulliver is rescued by the king and queen and he lives a life of considerable court comfort. He spends much of his time learning the language and talking to the King about life in England. The king emerges as a just, gracious ruler, a very nice and humane man. Borbingagas symbolize the private, personal and physical side of people when examined closely. In Lilliput, Gulliver symbolizes godlike power, but here he is the symbol of the slave and the puppet to perform various tricks to pay the spectators. Borbinggags do not symbolize negative human characteristics. The behavior of Borbdingnagians is different and looks more civilized than Gulliver. The Queen's goodwill for Gulliver and common sense was discovered. His enslavement is virtual, symbolizing the core humanity of Borbingnagi. So, it's like Europeans who are happy to make the quick jump when the opportunity arises. He is a golden puppet in their hands and is given a comfortable swing with rat protection.
In this book we find a dwarf who is unable to acquire the power that generally accompanies great physical size, but who receives distinctiveness that symbolizes the politics of those who seek to gain power not through physical force but through their distinctiveness, which is absolutely immoral and ordinary. The ladies and their shortcomings symbolize the imperfection examined with sufficient scrutiny. The microscopic view of the flies and flesh of Gulliver symbolizes the discovery of a microscope. In the late seventeenth century, the first edition of books containing magnified images was published. Similar views of a microscope knew the levels of complexity and damage. In his eyes, the small size of Europeans is coupled with their moral weakness. Gulliver's proposal for a shotgun represents the imperfection of the British. The King's refusal symbolizes this race more human than other races. This means that defects in this society are minimized as much as possible. Although this race is a huge moral achievement, it is not yet perfect.
Gulliver's third visit is to Lupta, showing Swift's attack on science and abstract knowledge. The Laputans are a symbol of the folly of theoretical knowledge, irrelevant to human life. During the voyage, his ship was attacked by pirates. He spoke with them in Dutch, but later his exposure to Gentiles more gracious than Christians symbolized Swift's religious faith. In this visit, the power is realized not through physical dimensions but through technology. Floating Island is both a great weapon and an allegorical image is the symbol of government and the people. In this visit, he tells the strict devotion of the Laputans to abstract theory, language, architecture and geography, symbolizing inhumanity. Scientists are committed to extracting sunlight from a cucumber and turning the feces back into food and turning the ice into a powder rifle. The architect is committed to designing a way to build houses from the roof down that symbolizes impossibility and futility by presenting the scientific society founded in 1660. Robert Boyle, Robert Hook and Isaac Newton are all members of royal society. His main task was to use the new techniques of science to improve the craft and more. The theorist has ruined a country, forcing its people to follow their fresh and completely useless methods.
Gulliver's escape at Glubbdubdrib symbolizes Swift's attempt to challenge the standards of abstract learning. In general, the ancient Greeks and Romans understood each other truly virtuous, where they became European to some extent. In addition, the Strandburg Islands in Luggnagg symbolize human desires. They seek eternal life and the basic benefits of old age. Indeed, the wisdom of old age can be used to help humanity, but the immortal Struldburgo grows only more judiciously and selfishly. The great sadness of Strulbrugs and the emptiness of Gulliver's desire to acquire wealth symbolize Swift's condemnation of such self-absorbing purposes as the condition of small minds, no matter to good society.
Jonathan Swift recounts Gulliver's fourth voyage to Honinms, an ideal of rational existence. Here one must be yahoo and he is subjected to animals. Represents that animals are more civilized or model citizens. Their society is safe from crime, poverty, disagreement and misery. They do not realize passion, joy and ecstatic love. Honyhnhnms appeals to reason and not to all scripture as a criterion for right action. They do not use force, only strong exhortation. Gulliver's whole anguish suggests that they influenced him more than any other society he visited.
In fact, it is a bitter criticism of human beings. Jonathan Swift chose humanity in all three visits, but here he chose animals. In fact, the Honyhnhnms represent the sinful and manifest arrogance of man in the power of reason. Gulliver's canoe making, sewing to collect yahoos skins to escape from the island, is his quick cynicism for the human species. If we discuss it further, it is the main weapon of a cynic or a satirist for the betterment of humanity, because every satirist is a reformer by heart.
In fact, this is the look of his book in a walnut shell. His work needs more attention and more time. It hides a great treasure from that era. It is acknowledged that his criticism is quick and sharp, but he did not use to exploit human beings, but to correct them by picking up their nonsense.