Abuse of power in Gulliver's travels

1707 WordsJul 8, 20187 Pages
Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels presents a narrator, Lemuel Gulliver, who recounts his various sea voyages to fantastical lands. During each voyage, Gulliver encounters different societies and customs to which Gulliver must adjust to. in order to be accepted into their society The entire novel serves as a commentary on how people everywhere have a tendency to abuse the power given to them. Gulliver’s first voyage is to Lilliput. The ship that Gulliver travels on capsizes, and Gulliver finds himself on a strange unknown island. He falls asleep, and upon waking up, Gulliver finds himself surrounded and bound by numerous little people who come to be known as the Lilliputians. Gulliver describes the strange people who bound him as being…show more content…
Goldstein points out that, “Criticizing institutions and human nature's tendency to trust those who wield political authority, Swift condemns our reluctance to safeguard our freedom. Swift exposes submissiveness and its consequence: a loss of liberty,” (iv). Gulliver trusts the Emperor due to the political power he wields without questioning what agreeing to these articles mean for himself. Altogether, these articles which allow Gulliver ‘freedom’, are just a way of further enslaving him, and making sure that Lilliput can abuse the power of Gulliver whenever they so choose. The controversy over the proper way to crack an egg is a way of addressing an abuse of power. A rule was enacted to determine the proper side to crack an egg on after a particular incident: It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking Eggs before we eat them, was upon the larger End: But his present Majesty’s Grandfather, while he was a Boy, going to eat an Egg, and breaking it according to the ancient Practice, happened to cut one of his Fingers. Whereupon the Emperor his father published an Edict, commanding all his Subjects, upon great Penaltys, to break the smaller End of their Eggs. (40-41) The manner in which people eat their eggs does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. This incident displays an abuse of power because the Emperor used his power to decree how
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