Notes on Characters from Gulliver's Travels

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Gulliver's Travels Major Characters

Lemuel Gulliver: Gulliver is a trained surgeon and sea captain who travels throughout the world on several voyages, learning about different cultures and customs. He is married to Mary Burton with two children (who consequently grow up without him), and spends some sixteen years and seventeen months in his adventures, and ultimately returns home a changed man. His first voyage leaves him shipwrecked and alone in Lilliput, a land where he is a giant compared to everyone else. After his escape from Lilliput (and the neighboring Blefuscu), Gulliver returns to England, only to depart once again to find himself lost in the land of Brobdingnag. Brobdingnag is a land of giants, where Gulliver is the relative size of a Lilliputian. After happy times there, he fears his life and is lifted away by a bird, until he is found floating in the ocean by an English sea captain. After his second return to England, Gulliver leaves home again to discover the floating island of Laputa and its continental cities below in Balnibarbi. He visits Luggnagg and Glubbdubdrib, discovering secrets of past histories and cultures, and the horrors of immortality. On his fourth an final journey, Gulliver is sprung upon the Houyhnhnms, a ruling society of horses, where people are the lower, inferior, slave-like species. These inferiors - yahoos - are dirty, detestable creatures who bear a striking resemblance to Gulliver. Gulliver spends some three to four years with these horses and falls in love with their society and reason, never wanting to leave. When he is expelled from the island, he returns to England altered. He no longer cares to look upon his family (or his species), and spends all his time with the two horses he buys to keep in his nearby stable. These four adventures change Gulliver forever, bringing him new perspectives on the laws of humanity and stark commentary on the ways of European life.

Minor Characters

Mrs. Mary Burton: Mrs. Mary Burton is Gulliver's wife. He only states her name at the beginning of the novel, and thereafter refers to her as his wife. She is mentioned only during his rare time in England.

Captain William Prichard: Captain Prichard is the head of the ship named Antelope. He controls Gulliver's first voyage in which a storm overtakes the ship, leaving Gulliver stranded on the strange land of Lilliput.

Lilliputians: The Lilliputians are the minuscule people from the land of Lilliput. They initial fear Gulliver, for his size is so overpowering. However, with the help of the emperor and few others, Gulliver befriends these people by helping them at war with their enemy, Blefuscu. However, after using so many of their resources and performing lewd acts in public, he is forced to flee the country for Blefuscu, and eventually home to England.

The Emperor of Lilliput: Although the emperor initially helps Gulliver by ordering clothing, food, and lodging for him, he eventually turns against Gulliver. He orders an edict with several laws pertaining to Gulliver, grants him his freedom, is thrilled when Gulliver helps Lilliput defeat Blefuscu, but is outraged when Gulliver will not use the Blefuscu-ans as slaves.

Reldresal: Reldresal is the Principal Secretary of Private Affairs and eventually becomes a close friend to Gulliver. He warns him about the Emperor's edict and speaks up for him during council meetings.

Blefuscu-ans: The Blefuscu-ans are the enemies of the Lilliputians and inhabitants of the neighboring land. They welcome Gulliver openly after he must flee Lilliput and are thankful to him for showing mercy.

Brobdingnags: The Brobdingnags are the giant people of the land of Brobdingnag. They are the size that Gulliver is in Lilliput, and view Gulliver as a toy, a doll, a exhibition. He looks like a little bug, but acts like a person. Although they are kind to him, Gulliver knows he must leave their land for fear of death.

Glumdalclitch: Glumdalclitch is the young daughter of the farmer of Brobdingnag who discovers Gulliver. She is thrilled to take Gulliver under her care as his nanny and never leaves his side for his entire stay in Brobdingnag. Like a girl to her doll, Glumdalclitch dresses, washes, feeds, houses, and teaches Gulliver. He treasures her, but at the same time, understands that she is still just a young girl who can be careless at times.

The Farmer: The farmer of Brobdingnag discovers Gulliver in his cornfields and initially takes him into his house as a pet. His daughter, Glumdalclitch, adores him and becomes his permanent nanny. However, the farmer wishes to capitalize on Gulliver's novelty by taking him throughout the land on tour and exhibition, until he sells Gulliver to the King.

The Queen of Brobdingnag: The Queen quickly befriends Gulliver and loves his company in the royal court. She spends much time with Gulliver and is very protective of his safety and well-being.

The King of Brobdingnag: The King of Brobdingnag, likewise befriends and loves Gulliver deeply. They spend much time together sharing the culture of their respective homelands, discussing the positives and negatives of each.

Captain William Robinson: Captain Robinson is the man who befriends Gulliver back in England. He convinces Gulliver to become the surgeon aboard his ship, and Gulliver agrees, starting his third journey. It is from Captain Robinson's ship, that Gulliver is tossed and thrown into the land of Laputa, the Flying Island.

The King of Laputa: The King of Laputa is a man of mathematical obsession who explains the laws of his land to Gulliver. He also decrees that the lands below Laputa should obey his laws. If they don't, they will have to face the consequences.

Laputans: The Laputans are the people in the land of Laputa, who life their lives in mathematical contemplation and cannot communicate without the help of a flapper.

Munodi: Munodi is the governor of Lagado and the man who helps Gulliver travel throughout Balnibarbi. He explains the Academy, the problems with all the people of the land, and the ways by which to travel from land to land. Munodi helps Gulliver see Luggnagg and Glubbdubdrib.

Struldbruggs: The race of people from Luggnagg born with a mark over their left eyebrow deeming them immortal. Although Gulliver initially believes this trait to be miraculous, he soon discovers that it may be a curse instead.

Yahoos: The yahoos are a detestable species that infect the Houyhnhnm countryside and metropolis. They are brutish, dirty, foul, immoral, and repulsive to not only the Houyhnhnms, but also Gulliver. However, these yahoos are the equivalent of human beings, and Gulliver is, therefore, considered a yahoo in the land. After seeing them, Gulliver is disgusted to all extremes and cannot bear the site of humans after his time in the land.

Houyhnhnms: Houyhnhnms are the equivalent of horses in the land of Houyhnhnm. They are the noble, beautiful, clean, and honest species, and look to the yahoos as inferior slaves. Gulliver is enamored of these species, these horses, and learns all about their culture and how it is ruled by reason, and reason alone. He even begins to act like them, and when he is forced to leave the land, he is brokenhearted.

Master Horse: Gulliver befriends one Houyhnhnm, who he calls his master. It is through this Houyhnhnm that Gulliver learns all about the laws of reason and the honest lifestyle that the Houyhnhnms (horses) live. His master is the one who favors Gulliver during the meetings that want him expunged from the land.

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