Gulliver's Travels


Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels: Book 3, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Gulliver leaves Glubbdubdrib for Luggnagg. On the ship to Luggnagg, Gulliver lies and says he is Dutch because he aims eventually to go to Japan and knows that only Dutch Europeans are allowed entrance. On the ship, Gulliver hires a young Luggnaggian to be his Luggnaggian interpreter.
Though it’s a fairly harmless deception, Gulliver’s lie is nevertheless hypocritical—he’s so often insisted on his utter truthfulness that the sight of him lying so unapologetically diminishes some of his moral power.
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Gulliver applies for and receives permission to visit Trildrogdrib, where the Luggnaggian king and court reside. Upon arrival, he is forced to approach the king in the manner of the country: that is, crawling on his belly licking the floor. Though the floor has been cleaned for him, a stranger, he notes that the king has the floor strewn with dust or even with poison before his enemies approach, causing them great discomfort and/or death. Gulliver praises the king as he’s been instructed to.
The ritual illustrates this king’s grotesque abuse of physical power. He controls his state by physical domination and the threat of physical punishment.
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The Luggnaggian king is pleased with Gulliver and provides him and his Luggnaggian interpreter with food and lodging for the three months Gulliver stays there.
Still, despite his kingdom’s horrific rituals, the king is as kind and welcoming towards Gulliver as all the other states have been. Though it's worth noting that the king is only kind after Gulliver has complete supplicated himself to the king.
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