Gulliver's Travels | Study Guide

Jonathan Swift

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Gulliver's Travels | Part 3, Chapter 9 | Summary

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Summary

Gulliver travels from Glubbdubdrib to Luggnagg. He identifies himself as Dutch upon arrival so he can be allowed to travel on to Japan. Gulliver is invited to meet the king at court, but he must observe the court's customs. Gulliver is required to crawl on his belly and lick the floor as he approaches the throne. Then he must strike his head on the ground seven times while praising the king. Gulliver is happy to discover he has been honored with a comparatively clean floor, as many visitors are not so lucky. After this ceremony is complete, the king invites Gulliver to dine with him. Gulliver remains in Luggnagg for three months.

Analysis

The king of Luggnagg shares the same problem with many of the monarchs presented in the novel: he expects absolute conformity to his will and his whims. He abuses his power by requiring anyone who seeks an audience with him to assume the lowly position of crawling and licking the floor. Gulliver says he is lucky the floor has been cleaned for him, but he also observes how less-favored individuals may be presented with a floor that has deliberately been made much dirtier. At least the king of Luggnagg is up front with his demands of courtly conformity. He asks for this gesture and then shows Gulliver full hospitality, unlike other leaders, such as the emperor of Lilliput, whose favor has required more guesswork on Gulliver's part.

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