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Critically analyze Swift’s  Portrayal of the Houyhnhnms in part of  IV Gulliver’s

Critically analyze Swift’s  Portrayal of the Houyhnhnms in part of  IV Gulliver’s Travels.  Do you think them to be the perfection of nature?

Ans.  The fourth voyage of Gulliver’s Travels marked the climax of the book.  Swift had violently attacked human follies through his representation of the Yahoos who were the symbol of all vicious nature of mankind.  Gulliver also celebrated the rational nature of the Houyhnhnms who were the symbol of the perfection of nature but Swift did not accept the life of the Houyhnhnms as the model for humankind because he disliked the stoics like the Houyhnhnms.  It was Gulliver, not Swift, who was greatly impressed by the Houyhnhnms and aspired to rise above the human limitations.  Generally, the horses or the Houyhnhnms were calm, intellectual but passionless.  The only passion Gulliver observed from the master Houyhnhnms was his anger excited by the several accounts of Gulliver’s country on different issues. 

The Houyhnhnms could not understand lying, falsehood, any perverse use of speech or any kind of concealment which nature has instructed to make.  The Houyhnhnms lacked an essential thing among them that was passion and for which they should not claim them as a model for human beings.  All human enterprises and noble efforts for success in the world actually came from passion but the Houyhnhnms only practiced benevolence which lacked the force of human love.  They did not have any special feeling for their children or wife because there was no true warmth or a true sense of happiness or sorrow among them.  The horses should not be taken as an ideal for human Imitation.  Their state was above passion or emotion almost like the superiority is quite conspicuously present in the Houyhnhnms.  The master criticized Gulliver’s flatness of his face, his prominent nose Natural coolness of the Houyhnhnm race.  In their calmness and operations to communicate with Gulliver 20/349 Gulliver’s Travels: Jonathan Swin robots that were cut off from an intense feeling of life.

  The feeling of and the eyes.  He also criticized the extra effort of a man who has to feed himself by lifting his hand.  That criticism does not go with the logical approach towards life, Houyhnhnms seem to be insensitive in understanding the complex character of a human being.  Gulliver described them as noble creatures ‘endowed with all virtues’.  Even they failed to understand the usage of clothes, ship, and writing.  Love, pity, and gratitude were totally absent in Houyhnhams’ nature.  Even in three years, Gulliver’s presence made no bond between him and his master Friendship and benevolence were considered natural virtues by the Houyhnhnms.  They did not have any particular feeling for anyone.  Each could reproduce two colts of each and by that means they controlled their population.  Even death was treated by them as a stoic calmness.  The Houyhnhnms’ life was fully governed by the rational faculty where emotion had no role to play.  That made their lives imperfect and incomplete.  Human passion and emotion are noble feelings and Swift had no desire to propound a life without these qualities.  He had utterly condemned the beastly Yahoos but subtly he showed the insufficiency in the life of Houyhnhnms.


 Critically analyze Swift's  Portrayal of the Houyhnhnms