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Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 3 Chapter 8

Summary of Gulliver’s Travels Part 3 Chapter 8

A further account of Glubbdubdrib. Ancient and modem history is corrected.

Gulliver set apart one day to speak with the most venerated people in history, starting with Homer and Aristotle. A ghost informed Gulliver that later scholars who commented on their works had horribly misrepresented the meaning of those authors to posterity. Gulliver also talked to a number of thinkers dealing with the nature of the universe, including the French philosophers Rene Descartes and Pierre Gassendi.

He asked Descartes and Gassendi to describe their systems to Aristotle, who freely acknowledged his own mistakes while pointing out that systems of nature would always vary from age to age as each new age of humanity comes up with a new system to explain nature.

Gulliver also met most of the Emperors of Rome. Then he moved on to the more recently deceased ones. He saw plenty of evidence of family degeneration into stupidity and lying. Speaking to the ghosts of the recent past showed Gulliver exactly how much lying goes around and how much history had been manipulated to look better (or worse) than it really was.

Gulliver wanted to find out how people had gotten their official and court positions and found that it was through horrible means: bribery, lying, flattery, oppression, treason and poisoning. The only really great services done to the state had been by people who history calls traitors and criminals. In fact, he also realized that this kind of hypocrisy was present even in Rome, once the Empire started to grow rich and luxurious. The introduction of similar wealth to England had made the English people progressively less healthy. Total corruption had caused England to grow repulsive over the last 100 years.