Gulliver Speech Essay


One of the main features in chapter’s five to eight is almost the same as chapters six and seven, about Gulliver has described his country, culture and way of life. In these chapters he also hears from his master the way of the Yahoos, and the Houyhnhnms, he begins to have doubts about the so called civilised world from whence he came.


On first arriving on the island he observes the Yahoos. He sees them for the first time and almost instantly considers them wild beasts. I have picked out various quotations proving this, such as, “Upon the whole, I have never beheld in all my travels so disagreeable an animal…” And when confronted by a Yahoo, he gives this description,”I had not gone far when I met one of these creatures full in my way, and coming up directly to me. The ugly monster, when he saw me, distorted several ways every feature of his visage…”


It is obvious from the text that Gulliver considers himself to be completely set apart from these creatures for had he thought them similar, or of the same species, he would not have described them the way he did.


But later on in chapters five and six, Gulliver describes to his master some of the world from which he came, i.e. Europe. He describes the many reasons for which the countries go to war for example, “Difference in opinions hath cost many millions of lives: for instance, whether flesh be bread, or bread be flesh; whether the juice of a certain berry be blood or wine…” and later on in the paragraph ”Sometimes one prince quarelleth with another, for fear the other should quarrel with him. Sometimes a war is entered upon because the enemy is too strong, and sometimes because the enemy is too weak.”


These seem very petty excuses for attacking another country but the satire is that these really were some of the excuses for wars were back then. Maybe this is to alert to the governments of the time how feeble their excuses were in the real world in an attempt to stop more wars. These reasons even exist now. Some of these may still be true even today, such as the impending war between America and Iraq. America, perhaps the most powerful country in world is afraid that due to military power Iraq may be too much competition. This can be likened to an excuse Gulliver mentions, that sometimes a war is entered upon because the enemy is too strong.


His master picks up on the fact that he says that millions have been killed in their wars but on observing the Yahoos, and says this to Gulliver, “What you have told me, upon the subject of war, doth indeed discover most admirably the effects of that Reason you pretend to: however, it is happy that the shame is greater than the danger; and that Nature hath left you utterly incapable of doing much mischief. For your mouths lying flat with your faces you can hardly bite each other to any purpose, unless by consent. Then as to the claws upon your feet before and behind, they are so short and tender, that one of our Yahoos would drive a dozen of yours before him. And therefore in recounting the numbers of those who have been killed in battle, I cannot but think that you have said the thing which is not.”


Upon hearing this Gulliver then goes into a description of over 25 different ways in which men are killed, inventions of destruction and the savageness of war. Examples being: muskets, cannons, swords, limbs flying through the air, ravishing and destroying.


Then in chapters seven and eight, his master describes some more of the ways in which the Houyhnhnms live and breed and also a lot about the nature of the Yahoos. He describes some of the reasons for which the Yahoos may fight amongst each other and these reasons are surprisingly close to some of the reasons for humans fighting between each other. I have chosen two examples, one is what the Houyhnhnms have observed the Yahoos to fight about and another is a ‘reason’ that Gulliver gave in describing why Europe may go to