Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels Book 3, Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Gulliver goes on to visit the academy’s political projectors, whom he judges to be totally insane. Gulliver does admire one doctor among them, who proposes to manage politics by managing the physical ailments and corporeal bodies of politicians (since “there is a strict universal resemblance between the natural and the political body”). When politicians disagree, he proposes performing surgery on their brains and giving each half the brain of the other. Thus political arguments can be resolved within one head.
The doctor’s plan is based solely on abstract theory and has no grounding in practical knowledge. Its brain transplant proposal clearly ignores the most basic facts of medicine and human health.
Themes
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Gulliver also hears projector professors debating the standards by which people should be taxed, proposing that men be taxed on their vices, follies, talents, sexual prowess, “wit, valour, and politeness,” but never on “honour, justice, wisdom, and learning,” since those four are valueless. Women could be taxed on “beauty” and style, but not on “constancy, chastity, good sense, and good nature,” because the latter four were too scarce to yield any tax profit.
The projectors continue to demonstrate their own perverse values—here they consider “honor, justice, wisdom, and learning” worthless. Still, unbeknownst to them, their tax system would encourage just such “worthless” values (by leaving them untaxed) and would therefore promote a more virtuous society.
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The projector professors also discuss choosing senators by a raffle, detecting conspiracies by examining statesmen’s diets and excretions.
The plan to select powerful state leaders by chance or by irrelevant physical characteristics is obviously flawed.
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Gulliver shares with the projector professors a few political strategies he has observed in the kingdom of Tribnia where the Langdon (the natives) falsely accuse people of conspirators to elevate their own standing, and prove their false accusations by having skilled “artists” find hidden codes, meanings, acrostics, or anagrams, in the supposed conspirators words or letters. The professors thank Gulliver heartily. Generally unimpressed by Lagado, Gulliver starts thinking about returning to England.
The reader’s perspective clashes with Gulliver’s and the projectors’. Gulliver seems to have no qualms about sharing his worldly knowledge of other society’s manipulative and dishonest political strategies, and the projectors welcome the information.
Themes
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