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Calatoriile lui Gulliver

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) aduce in proza secolului al XVIII-lea o nota stranie, cu totul
particulara. Intr-o epoca in care domina utopiile literare de coloratura optimista, intalnite
la Montesquieu, Voltaire si mai tarziu Goethe, Jonathan Swift realizeaza, in "Calatoriile lui
Gulliver" (1726), cea mai sumbra utopie negativa din acea vreme. Cu toate acestea, Swift
este un adept, un adversar al coruptiei, al razboaielor de cotropire, ca si al trairii in afara
ratiunii atotputernice. Aceste principii traverseaza intreaga sa opera.
Finalitatea acestei remarcabile creatii literare este marturisita de Swift in partea a IV-a a
cartii, "Calatorie in tara cailor", unde precizeaza ca a dorit sa spuna "adevarul gol golut,
cu vorbele cele mai simple; caci scopul meu a fost sa te invat si nu sa te veselesc". In
ansamblu, opera are caracter alegoric. Scriitorul face uz de procedeul 'suspensiei
realitatii', transpunand starea lucrurilor din Anglia epocii sale intr-o suprarealitate
fantastica. Alegoria din "Calatoria lui Gulliver in tara piticilor" lasa sa se intrevada
moravurile politice din Anglia de odinioara. Antagonismele dintre cele doua partide,
diferentiate dupa tocul pantofilor, lacomia regelui liliputan, coruptia ministrilor constituie
o vehementa satira de moravuri.
In aceasta opera, Swift satirizeaza obiceiurile morale, conceptiile, regimul politic, viata de
curte din tara Liliput, prin care, in realitate, este vizata Anglia timpului.
Pretextul crii este acelai ca al unui roman de aventuri, dar Swift urmrete s
deghizeze sub aparene fantastice i exotice satira la adresa societii contemporane lui.
Gulliver cltorete n Lilliput, ara piticilor, i face cunotin cu o societte organizat ca
i societatea englez a vremii, creia ns autorul i exagereaz pn la caricatural
trsturile negative.
ara uriailor (Brobdingnag) reprezint monarhia luminat, ideal al iluminitilor.
n Laputa nvaii triesc pe o insul zburtoare, ocupndu-se de probleme absurde,
cum ar fi extragerea rezelor de soare din castravei sau construirea caselor ncepnd cu
acoperiul. Se satirizeaz n acest mod tiina rupt de via.
J. Swift exalt virtuile strii naturale n episodul consacrat rii oamenilor-cai (ara
houyhnhnm-ilor), unde locuiesc dou populaii, yahoo-ii, oamenii care triesc ca
animalele, sintetiznd toate viciile omeneti (Lcomia, rutatea, invidia, pofta
nemsurat), i caii nelepi, care triesc patriarhal, n egalitate, dup legi nescrise i fr
s cunoasc viciile pe care le aduce civilizaia.

Beyond the discovery that we humans are all Yahoos, the main point of interest in
Gulliver's long descriptions of these people is the comparison between European and
Houyhnhnm Land Yahoos. Gulliver tells the Master Horse about (a) lawyers, who make a
practice of defending opinions that aren't their own for money (a.k.a. lying, according to
Gulliver); (b) wars, generally over differences of opinion rather than anything substantial;
(c) doctors, who will poison people for money and who encourage hypochondria among
weak, idle people for cash; and (d) Ministers of State, whose main job it is to betray the
previous Minister and advance his own ambition.


The Master Horse tells Gulliver a bunch of things his people have observed about
Yahoos:
1. They'll fight at the drop of a hat.
2. They're endlessly greedy: they kill each other over a certain shiny rock found in
Houyhnhnm Land (which, beyond being shiny, has no value). And even if there are only
5 Yahoos supplied with enough meat to fill 50, they will still attack each other for control
of these supplies.
3. "She Yahoos" (4.7.15) or in other words, women, will constantly try to seduce men,
even while they are pregnant unlike "other brutes" (4.7.15). (Check out our theme on
"Gender" for more analysis of this subject.)
4. There's nothing Yahoos like better than sneaking up and stealing things or attacking
they hate doing things honestly and upfront.
5. Yahoos are the only animals in Houyhnhnm Land who ever get sick. They treat their
own illnesses with "medicines" mixed from their own pee and poo.
Despite the fact that European Yahoos look better than Houyhnhnm Land Yahoos, with
their shaved faces, clipped hair, filed nails, and clothing, in essential nature they are the
same. All Yahoos, no matter where they (or we?) are from love war, theft, sex, luxury,
medicine, and lying.
In fact, both the Master Horse and Gulliver decide that the Houyhnhnm Land Yahoos are
better than European Yahoos because they don't try to hide their vicious natures under a
mask of cleanliness and civilization. They are much stronger than Gulliver, and more able
to stand the heat of the sun, thanks to their nakedness and outdoor living. To the
Master Horse, it's far weirder to see a Yahoo pretending to use reason to explain things
that cannot be rational, like war and lying and so on, than to see naked Yahoos acting
according to their gross instincts.