Gulliver’s Travels: The war concept [Archives:2005/868/Education]

August 15 2005

Dr. Bashar Ghazi Askar
[email protected]

The concept of war is one of the most significant concepts in the annals of the world history. It has occupied the minds of leaders, kings and important figures from the earliest days of man's existence on this planet . Writers, novelists, poets, playwrights and politicians have all studied this issue either with ridicule, or in a humorous, comic or serious way. War breaks out between two nations on trivial or serious issues. In Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift comments on the reasons that led to the war between the Lilliputs and the Blefascus. Swift wanted to make people laugh at their faults by showing them how silly they seemed to others

The background of the issue of war between the two nations goes back to the silly issue of how to break an egg…. The emperor said,” Although the country may appear, to strangers, to be at peace, there is fear of an attack by its enemies in Blefascu. He continued, “The trouble started in the following way. When we ate eggs we used to break the egg open at the larger end. But our emperor 's grandfather, while he was a boy, once cut his finger when doing this. For this reason, the emperor, his father, made a law that eggs were to be broken at the smaller end.”

This procedure of cutting the egg which is a trivial thing led to a war between two nations. There was turmoil, anger, and fighting because of this problem. The two nations have nothing to do with the war carried out by the decision of the leaders. The war as a destruction obliged people to leave their cities and countries fearing its disastrous consequences . The opponents went to Blefuscu, where they were supported by the emperor of Blefuscu.

A war broke out between these two countries which lasted for three years. There had been destruction, loss of lives, of ships, sailors and soldiers. However, the emperor of Blefuscu listened to the advice of his high officials and Gulliver took part in this bloody war. As a stranger Gulliver had thought of a plan to destroy the fleet of the enemy. The empire of Blefuscu is an island separated from Lilliput by the sea about eight hundred yards and six feet deep in the middle at high tide. Gulliver took with him cables and hooks so as to carry off the fleet and pulled fifty of the war ships to the other side of the island.

Though leaders talk about victory and defeat in the war but there are no winners in the war. All parties are losers and destroyers of their nations. In this sense, wars break out sometimes for silly, trivial unstudied things. The two nations enter into clashes aroused by nationalism, patriotism and enter into fighting without understanding the goals. One nation wants to annexe the others and gain some lands or at least to humiliate the enemy . Jonathan swift dealt with this subject in a ridiculous, satirical way to all those ministers and war lords who pave the way to war for silly things.