Gulliver's Travels


Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels: Book 3, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Gulliver leaves Lagado and sets out planning to go to Luggnagg, an island in between western American and Japan. However, when there are no ships for Luggnagg he goes to the island of Glubbdubdrib instead, which is governed by magicians who practice necromancy. The Glubbdubdribbian governor’s servants are all ghosts, which startles Gulliver at first, though he soon gets used to it. The governor offers to summon up any dead person Gulliver wants to meet and so Gulliver sees Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Caesar, Pompey, the Roman senate, Caesar and Brutus. Gulliver is very impressed by Brutus’ intelligent benevolent appearance, and Caesar’s ghost affirms this impression by telling Gulliver none of his own life’s actions were as great as Brutus’ murder.
As a magician able to summon ghosts of the dead, the governor possesses extraordinary physical power. By encountering the historical European dead, Gulliver gets a chance to learn about his own society’s past. In doing so, he discovers the flaws in his own knowledge and sees that his perspective on European history does not match up with the perspectives of the historical figures themselves. Indeed, history lessons teach that Brutus is a villain and Caesar a hero, but the ghosts themselves reverse this dynamic.
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Gulliver summarizes the innumerable other ghosts he had summoned by saying they were “chiefly…destroyers of tyrants and usurpers, and the restorers of liberty to oppressed and injured nations.”
Gulliver is interested in meeting heroes of the people: individuals who fight power’s abusers and virtuously defend the rights of a country’s people.
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