Satire is defined as a literary work in which irony, derision, or wit in any form is used to expose folly or wickedness. Whenever Johnathan Swift disagreed with an event taking place in England he would portray it through satire in his writings. In Gulliver's Travels, Swift attempts many times throughout his writings to use satire. Specifically, he used social satire, religious satire, and political satire. In Johnathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels satire is a predominant element used throughout his works. Swift uses social satire numerous times all through the books.
Even from the beginning, one can see satire. On Gulliver's first journey, he is taken to the land of the Yahoos. Yahoos appear to have some of the same characteristics as humans. When Gulliver follows a set of foot prints, he finds several of them playing in a field with trees.
With big claws and thick hair covering their body, Gulliver thinks to himself that he has never seen such a repulsive creature (Gulliver's Travels: Investigating Satire). Swift uses the Houyhnhnms to portray the reason based society that was quickly spreading throughout Europe at the time. One of the most obvious aspects of true reason is their language. No doubt, lying, or deception is found among the things they say.
Gulliver's master says that their language is to help them understand and receive information better, contradicting the evolution of the English language. People is Swift's environment were beginning to use language to lie and cheat. The Houyhnhnm language is a simple one that represents their wants and passions. What Swift was trying to show by this is that if the point of a common language is to communicate, there is not a reason for lying (Johan). Although the Houyhnhnm society seems perfect, there are many things missing. They lack any emotion and have no sense of humor, love, passion, and creativity.
It is impossible for humans to leave out opinions and emotions. The Houyhnhnms are what humans would be like if we were capable of true reasoning without emotions (Davis). Swift satirized the society of England by proposing a tax system. The king of Brobdingnag would tax according to your outward appearance and popularity. The king stated that you should not be taxed for honor, justice, wisdom, and learning (Muir). Swift used satire against the people of England and how they acted.
After Gulliver had described the people of England to the queen, she comes to the conclusion that the people are "the most pernicious race of little odious that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the Earth" (satire in Gulliver's Travels). When using religious satire, Swift often makes fun of how churches fight and argue over petty differences. The Yahoos would have these major wars just because of the way they break their eggs. Swift satirizes about how they made such a big deal over a little difference.
He doesn't understand why the Protestants and the Catholics have wars over minor differences (Travels with a Satirist). The popularity of the church in England was what Swift used to create the Yahoos. The creation of the Yahoos is similar to the creation of Adam and Eve. The beginning of the Yahoos is that two members of the civilization appeared on a mountain and multiplied very quickly (Gulliver's Travels- Dissension and Satire).
It can be inferred that since the Houyhnhnms live by reason they are Christians. At the end of the fourth book, there is another attack on Deist thought. When Gulliver returned home, he is disappointed to learn that the humans did not measure up to the Houyhnhnm standards of reason and virtue. The type of impact the Houyhnhnms had on Gulliver is like the disciplined and committed lifestyles of Christian beliefs (T hackery).
Years ago, in Lilliput, people broke their eggs on the big end. When the king's grandfather cut himself breaking an egg this way, his father (the present king at the time of the incident) made a law that everyone was to break their eggs on the smaller end. When some of the people resisted, they left and found refuge in Blefscu. "For six and thirty moons past", the two sides have been at war. Since Gulliver could not distinguish a difference between the two ends of the eggs, this argument seemed ridiculous.
Swift made Lilliput similar to England and Blefscu similar to France. Swift satirizes the unnecessary arguing between the two countries (Rolly son). Many times throughout his works, Swift would satirize a major event going on in his country. Whenever Swift did not agree with something he often satirized the event in his fictitious stories. In Gulliver's Travels, Swift satirized these major events with social, political, and religious happenings of his time.