We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Gulliver's Travels

Gulliver's Travels


by Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels Part 4, Chapter 6 Summary

READ THE BOOK: Part 4, Chapter 6

"A continuation of the state of England under Queen Anne. The character of a first minister of state in European courts."

  • Next up, Gulliver tries to explain the concept of greed to the Master Horse.
  • He claims that England grows enough food to support its population comfortably, but because they want luxury, they must export what they grow in exchange for things that they don't need.
  • This luxury – wine, rich food, too much sex – all leads the English to diseases, the likes of which the Houyhnhnms have never seen.
  • Another group of people have arisen to treat these diseases – to profit off them – using fake potions to make people purge their insides.
  • This group of people (doctors, of course) make so much profit on disease that they encourage people to think that they are sick even when they aren't.
  • They also use their wisdom to poison people who have become inconvenient: when husbands and wives have gotten tired of their partners or sons have gotten fed up with their fathers, doctors can take care of the problem.
  • The Master Horse wants to know what a "Minister of State" is (in American terms, something like a Cabinet Member for the President).
  • Gulliver tells the Master Horse that the First Minister of State is someone totally without any emotion besides ambition for money and power.
  • The chief qualifications for the First Minister of State are: (1) to know how to get rid of an inconvenient wife, daughter, or sister; (2) to betray the Minister who has come before you; (3) to shout endlessly against corruption at court (though, of course, Ministers always lie).
  • Chief Ministers of State dedicate themselves to bribing and intimidating others to follow their orders.
  • And Gulliver's tirade continues: he tells the Master Horse that the nobility in his country are educated to be lazy and ignorant, and that there is frequent mixing of classes that damages noble bloodlines.
  • Despite their total uselessness, they still have authority over all lower-born people in the country.

READ THE BOOK: Part 4, Chapter 6

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...