Gulliver – s Travels to Lilliput: History, Politics, Culture – Satire of Lilliput

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Liliputian History, Politics, Culture Satire

Lilliputian Royal Court

Lilliput is ruled by an Emperor, Golbasto Momarem Evlame Gurdilo Shefin Mully Ully Gue. He is assisted by a first minister (who carries a white staff) and several other officials (who later bring articles of impeachment against Gulliver on grounds of treason): the galbet or high admiral, Skyresh Bolgolam; the lord high treasurer, Flimnap; the general, Limnoc; the chamberlain, Lalcom; and the grand justiciary, Balmuff.

The Lilliputian court customs are very interesting. Men seeking political office demonstrate their agility in rope dancing. How long and how skillfully a candidate can dance upon a rope determines his tenure in office. Reldresal, Gulliver’s friend, and Flimnap, are two of the candidates that are most adept in this. Other diversions include noblemen competing for official favor by crawling under or leaping over a stick, a feat for which they are then rewarded with various colored threads. The disbelief of a Divine Providence renders a man incapable of holding any public station; for, since kings avow themselves to be the deputies of Providence, the Lilliputians think nothing can be more absurd than for a prince to employ such men that disown the authority under which he acts

There are quarrels between the High Heel Party and the Low Heel Party. The conflict originated over a religious question “Which end should the faithful break their eggs, at the big end or at the little end?” The Blefuscudians break theirs, in the original style, at the big end. But, by royal edict, the Lilliputians must break their eggs at the little end.

All crimes in Lilliput are punished with utmost severity. False accuser are treated as severely as a traitor and put to death and, out of his goods, or lands, the innocent person is quadruply recompensed for the loss of his time and for the danger he underwent. Fraud is considered a greater crime than theft and is punished with death. Ingratitude is a capital crime, as whoever makes ill returns to his benefactor, must needs be a common enemy to the rest of mankind.

Lilliputians believe that parents are the last of all others to be trusted with the education of their own children; and, therefore, they have, in every town, public nurseries, where all parents are obliged to send their children to be reared and educated. These schools are of several kinds, suited to different qualities, and to both sexes. They have certain professors, well skilled in preparing children for such a condition of life as befits the rank of their parents, and their own capacities as well as inclinations.

Lilliput House

Lilliput and Blefuscu were intended as, and understood to be, satirical portraits of the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of France, respectively, as they were in the early 18th century. Only the internal politics of Lilliput are described in detail; these are parodies of British politics, in which the great central issues of the day are belittled and reduced to unimportance.

Lilliput is reputedly named after the real area of Lilliput on the shores of Lough Ennell in Dysart, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in Ireland. Swift was a regular visitor to the Rochfort family at Gaulstown House. It’s said that it was when Swift looked across the expanse of Lough Ennell one day and saw the tiny human figures on the opposite shore of the lake that he conceived the idea of the Lilliputians featured in Gulliver’s Travels. There is also an early Christian association – St. Patrick s sister, Lupita is known to the Lilliput area, which may recall her name. In fact, the townland known from ancient times as Nure was renamed Lileput or Lilliput shortly after the publication of Gulliver’s Travels in honour of Swift’s association with the area. Lilliput House has stood in the locality since the Eighteenth Century.





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25/07/2017

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