Lilliputians and Blefuscudians, two races of miniature people whom Gulliver encounters on his first voyage, are prone to conspiracies and jealousies, and while they treat Gulliver well enough materially, they are quick to take advantage of him in political intrigues of various sorts. Owing to a disagreement over a reference in their common holy scripture over the proper way to eat eggs (Lilliputians crack their eggs at the smaller end, while Blefuscudians crack theirs at the larger end), the Lilliputians and the Blefuscudians have long been at war, a conflict Swift uses to mock the petty struggles and obsessions that characterize political life in the real world. Gulliver helps the Lilliputians defeat the Blefuscudian navy, but he eventually leaves Lilliput and receives a warm welcome in the court of Blefuscu, by which Swift satirizes the arbitrariness of international relations.

Swift uses several key characters for means of further, more specific satire. The emperor of Lilliput, for instance, is both a parody of the autocratic ruler and a strangely serious portrait of political power; because of his tiny size, his belief that he can control Gulliver seems silly, but his willingness to execute his subjects for minor reasons of politics or honor gives him a frightening aspect. He is proud of possessing the tallest trees and biggest palace in the kingdom, but he is also quite hospitable, spending a fortune on his captive’s food.

Similarly, Flimnap—the Lord High Treasure of Lilliput who believes, jealously and improbably, that Gulliver and his wife are having an affair—is a portrait of the weaknesses of character to which any human is prone but that become especially dangerous in those who wield great power. Not all Lilliputians are reflections of the trappings of power, however. The Principal Secretary of Private Affairs, Reldresal, is more a source of much-needed information for Gulliver than a well-developed personality, but he does display personal courage and trust in allowing Gulliver to hold him in his palm while he talks politics. Within the convoluted context of Lilliput’s factions and conspiracies, such friendliness reminds us that fond personal relations may still exist even in this overheated political climate.