LEMUEL GULLIVER

CHARACTER ANALYSIS

   Lemuel Gulliver is the protagonist and narrator in the novel “Gulliver’s Travels”.Gulliver is the son of a small landowner and he was born and brought up in a middle- class family in Nottinghamshire,England.He is  well educated and he was ship’s surgeon.Gulliver is married  to Mary Burton and have two children. Gulliver’s remarkable travels begin in 1699 and end in 1715, having changed Gulliver’s personality to that of a recluse. He claims to have written his memoirs five years following his last return to England, in 1720 or 1721.He made several voyages and spent his leisure hours by reading best authors ,observing the manners and dispositions of people as well as learning their language.In his education and travels, Gulliver acquired some knowledge of High and Low Dutch, Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Lingua Franca; he later states that he “understood some Greek, and  Portuguese very well”.

                     Gulliver  is good at adapting himself to other cultures .Gulliver provides a huge context and interpretation for the different  people he encounters over the course of his travels.Gulliver quickly adapts to new situations and he is an obedient person.Although  Lilliputians  treats him cruelly, he responds in a submissive manner.He is a person concerned with honor, gratitude, common sense and kindness. Eventhough he is a foreigner to Lilliput Island, he was ready to defend his person and state against all invaders, this shows his helping mentality.Gulliver received the highest title of honour ‘Nardac’  in the realm of Lilliput, by carrying off the whole fleet of the Blefuscudians.When the emperor compelled him to destroy Blefuscians he refused it and  said that; “I would never be an instrument of bringing a free and brave people in to slavery”.

                                                                                                        (Part 1,chapter 5,para-3)

                According to him war is a terrible thing.Gulliver always take wisest decisions and he is outspoken and  very bold to declare his opinion.He is an honest man and he expects others  to be honest. When Gulliver arrives in Brobdingnag ,he discovers a race of giants that dwarf him in the same way that he dwarfed the Lilliputians.This change in circumstance  and perspective show him that all concepts ,including size exist only in proportion to context.Gulliver  agrees that philosophers are in the right,when they told  that nothing is greater or little otherwise than by comparison.Gulliver confesses that he felt neglected when he was in Laputa because he  feels far inferior than Laputians in  knowledge of Mathematics and music. He was weary of being confined to an Island ,where he received little countenanace.

                 Gulliver’s  motive behind narrating the account of travels to the world: it might help a philosopher to enlarge his thought  and imagination.In his final journey , he spends four years with the horses and falls in love with their society and reason, never wanting to leave. Gulliver mentions  motives behind  war to Houyhnhnmns ;  it might be   the ambition of a prince to get more land to govern or sometimes due to the corruption of ministers, this shows his hatred towards war and  corruption. When he is expelled from this Island, he returns to Engalnd altered. In his final adventure, he discovers the deep flaws of the human race or Yahoos, primitive  human like creatures.Having learned about the evils of his own species Gulliver becomes a misanthrope. He identifies himself with Houyhnhnms and tries to become  one. Although  the horses are alien to him :yet Gulliver thinks of the Yahoos as alien and animalistic.He no longer cares to look upon his family  and spends all his time with two horses in nearby stable.

              Gulliver laboriously tells how clothes himslef in each country :in Lilliput he wears clothes patched together from hundreds of tiny pieces of  fabric, in Brobdingnag his child nurse sews him clothes as though he were a doll and in Laputa he mentions that nine of his suits fit. When he is expelled  from Houyhnhnmns land, he no longer cares what he is wearing. He learns to be content with simplicity while he was in Houyhnhnmn’s Land. The four adventures change Gulliver forever, bringing him new perspective on the laws of humanity and stark commentary on the ways of European life.One modern critic has described ; Gulliver as possessing the smallest will in all of Western literature: he is simply devoid of a sense of mission, a goal that would make his wandering into a quest.

                  Gulliver believes that it is his evil destiny to go to sea. Gulliver says that he needs to make money after  the failure of his business  but he rarely mentions finances throughout the work, indeed never  even  mentions home.  Odysseus’s goal is to get home again, Aeneas’s goal in Virgil’s Aeneid is to found Rome, but Gulliver’s goal on his sea voyage is uncertain. Gulliver is gullible as his name suggests.He is held captive several times throughout his voyages, but he is never once released through his own stratagems, relying instead on chance factors for his liberation.Through  Gulliver’s  character  Swift criticizes humanity. In part one he is portrayed as a typical 18th century  voyager, he is bold practical and unromantic. His homely  outlook  skillfully impressed on the reader by the biographical details at the beginning.Gulliver’s  character is dynamic and always developing  .Overall as a good narrator he tries not to trouble his readers with all the curiosities he had observed.

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