Gulliver’s Travels is a prose satire, considered the most outstanding work written by the Irishman Jonathan Swift. It was published in October 1726 and since then its popularity has led it to become a classic of universal literature. The author created the text as a mockery of “travel stories”, adding strong criticism of customs, political methods, as well as human nature.
The novel is full of fantasy with touches of humor and imagination, for this reason, many assume that it is a children’s work. The protagonist of this story is Lemuel Gulliver , a doctor who, due to certain circumstances, decides to go on a journey. Throughout his journeys he will live great adventures and will meet four peculiar civilizations, all very different from his own.
Summary of Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
It is a satirical novel in which the four voyages of a surgeon are narrated , who, tired of the routine, decided to embark on various maritime adventures. This work is a classic of literature and has been adapted on numerous occasions, both for film, television, radio, and for plays. Also, different authors have made sequels to the story, with new trips by the famous Lemuel Gulliver.
Lemuel Gulliver is a married physician with children, a native of Nottinghamshire . He will make four trips in which he will live incredible and interesting adventures . In each of them he will end up on a different island, where he will meet four particular civilizations. These will make you reflect every time he returns to England and question everything about his life.
In May 1699, Gulliver sets out on his first voyage, embarking on the Antelope . After a strong storm , the ship is shipwrecked and Lemuel must swim tirelessly to find dry land. After dodging through turbulent waters, he manages to reach the shore, where he falls asleep due to the enormous effort made.
The next day, Gulliver meets the emperor of the island, with whom he sympathizes and gains trust. It is easy for him to adapt; he quickly learns the new language and customs. The doctor comes to like the emperor so much that he decides to set him free , but the admiral (with whom he did not ingratiate) sabotages everything , so that the emancipation of the giant is subject to certain conditions, which would not allow him to return home. .
As time passes, a war breaks out between the Lilliputians and the Blefuscu kingdom— also with tiny inhabitants. At the expense of his great size, Gulliver captures the enemy fleet, earning him an honorary title . After refusing to turn Blefuscu into a colony of Lilliput, Lemuel will jump between sides until he manages to restore a boat of his size with which he escapes and returns to England.
Two months after returning to his family, Gulliver decides to embark on a new journey , this time on the Adventure . Again, a storm causes the ship to lose its course and end up stranded on the island of Brobdingnag. There everyone observes a gigantic person, who makes the crew flee in terror, while Lemuel will run to a field.
While there, a 70-foot-tall farmer captures Gulliver for display as a circus attraction . He decides to take him to the Queen, who immediately demands to keep him as a pet. Being in the palace, Lemuel will go through many dangers due to his minuscule size. Thanks to an incredible circumstance he will manage to reach the sea, only to be rescued by an English fleet.
Months later —driven by certain family problems—, Gulliver resolves to travel again . This time, the ship is attacked by pirates and by fleeing he will end up in an unknown land . Lemuel travels through the territory, when suddenly, a great shadow covers him, looking at the sky, he finds a floating island above him . After asking for help, some men throw a rope and manage to climb it.
This mysterious island was called: Laputa , in this community everything is managed through music and mathematics. Gulliver soon gets fed up with this strange community and asks to be returned to land , where he visits Balnibarbi for a few days.
Gulliver had decided to stay in England and never travel again. After a time of boredom, he decided to return to the sea, this time as the captain of the ship . Shortly after sailing, a mutiny among the crew resulted in Lemuel being marooned on an island . There he will meet two different civilizations: the Yahoos and the Houyhnhnms, the latter are the ones who govern said territory.
Yahoos are human beings who live wild , always filthy and unreliable. For their part, the Houyhnhnms are highly intelligent talking horses that act based on absolute reason. Gulliver fits perfectly with this civilization, and every day his aversion to the human race increases; although, finally —against his will—, he is returned to England.
Author biographical note
On Wednesday, November 30, 1667, the city of Dublin (Ireland) saw the birth of a child named Jonathan Swift . His parents were Abigail Erick and Jonathan Swift, both English immigrants. Shortly before he was born, his father passed away, prompting his mother to return to England. But before she left, the woman left Jonathan ‘s upbringing to Uncle Godwin.
From 1738 Swift began to suffer from a mysterious illness , which is presumed to be of a neurological nature. By 1742, an eye tumor made it impossible for him to read. Sensing his death, he said: “The time has come for me to break with this world: I am going to die in a rage, like a poisoned rat in its hole.”
Jonathan Swift died on October 19, 1745 , leaving most of his wealth to the poor. His remains rest in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.