Jonathan Swift Satire Analysis

Decent Essays

Questions for Discussion
What were the social conditions in Ireland that occasioned the writing of Jonathan Swift’s essay? Does the essay indicate what Swift considers to be the causes of these conditions? Does Swift target anybody in particular with his satire? How can you tell?
At the time Jonathan Swift wrote his essay, the social conditions in Ireland were extremely devastating. England was taking over land and making Irish people pay high rents. Unable to pay them, many of people were poverty stricken. The overpopulation, led to the debtors’ kids to be homeless. Swift indicates this when he states, “It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town, or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabin doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four, or six children, all in rags and importuning every passenger for alms.” Along with stating the situation of the country, it is indicating who Swift blames as the cause of these conditions. He believes that the upper class is to blame for oppressing the lower class. Throughout the essay he mentions how the children of the poor could be used to feed the upper class. This is a form of satire as it mocks the riches of the upper class at the expense of the lower class. It is made obvious that he thinks the rich are to blame when he says, “i think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children… is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a

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