Monday, February 8, 2010

Satire versus Reality in regards to the Legal World

As I was reading Part IV of Gulliver's Travels, I was really interested in chapter five when Gulliver explains the state of England, the causes of war, and the English constitution. These are complicated subjects and require careful wording even to people who have a knowledge of this information. So when I read that Gulliver was going to explain all this to his master, I was imagining him confused about the law, war, and the importance of it. Gulliver is very pompous and arrogant as he goes through these points. "I could not forbear shaking my Head and smiling a little at his Ignorance." (page 230, second paragraph) As he was describing war, he comes across as more important because he had seen ships sinking with twenty thousand men, limbs flying through the air, and other firearms of war. I was surprised at the Master's response and his concern over hearing these details. I am still trying to understand the satire and deeper meaning but I think it could be viewed as a warning to the public about the dangers of becoming to numb to these aspects of society and what affect they came have on a person's mind.
In the last paragraph of this chapter, it seems like he is making fun of the lawyers and their lack of true wisdom and knowledge. My mind immediately goes to the Charles Dicken's book Bleak House because it is full of lawyers and legal proceedings. These descriptions match the characters in Bleak House and I feel like it is not as much satire as it is reality during this time. They are taking advantage of their clients every way possible and maybe Swift is trying to arouse the public and help them realize what is going on in the legal world of their own country.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely, Swift is denigrating layers and the entire legal system, which was in fact deeply corrupt in the eighteenth century. _Bleak House_ is in fact based on an eighteenth-century law case that dragged on until all the parties to it had died, and the disputed property had been entirely consumed in legal fees. I wonder however, if Swift is trying to awaken public consciousness of this problem--most of his contemporaries were aware of this, and substantive changes were not made for decades. So, what might be his point in this section? What message do you think he is trying to convey?