Gulliver's Travels Characters - Shmoop
As you might expect, Lemuel Gulliver is the star and central character of Gulliver's Travels. In fact, he narrates the novel himself, and he is the only genuinely developed character in the whole book. Other figures in Gulliver's Travelsabsolutely fade into the background. For example, Gulliver only mentions his wife, Mary, in passing as he stays home just long enough to get her pregnant again before heading out to the high seas. Yes, Gulliver is pretty much it when it comes to rounded, individual characters in this novel.
Gulliver’s Travels Characters | GradeSaver
Both of these traits come in handy. First, Gulliver's medium-class birth means that he is pretty flexible in terms of the social circles he moves in. While he always wants to associate himself with "people of quality," he also falls relatively easily into conversation with working-class people and servants. What's more, his pragmatism and practical nature save his life over and over again. He's not too proud to lick the floor in front of the Luggnaggian King or to suck up pretty outrageously to the Queen of Brobdingnag. Gulliver is the central character of Gulliver's Travels, but there's nothing outsized or heroic about him. He really does seem to be a kind of Everyman, maybe more resourceful than many, but not too brave or powerful. More...
It is important for the reader to understand that Gulliver is not always Swift’s spokesman in the story, but often becomes an object of ridicule as well. Swift depicts Gulliver as a typical 18th-century Englishman who is blind to his own flaws and the flaws of those around him. When Gulliver proudly offers the Brobdingnagian king the formula for gunpowder, Swift is satirizing both man’s desire to conquer and destroy, and Gulliver’s blindness to the peaceful nature of the Brobdingnagians. At the end of his travels, when Gulliver has come to despise the entire human race, his unreasonable reaction to his fellow humans is as much the target of Swift’s anger as are the faults he finds despicable. Although the character of Gulliver at the end is problematic, it is safe to assume that Swift does not entirely approve of his attitudes and reactions.