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Joseph Addison : Critique Of The Diarist, In The 1700's '

Decent Essays

Fear consumes people. Fear controls actions, commands people, and dominates society. In the 1700’s the British ruling class were the ones to fear, one mistake and they were dead like the Grand Vizier. Fear caused commoners to stand in line, march with the beat, and never question those above them. English satirist Joseph Addison creates a character that is the epitome of satire, in that people must fear him, however, he is facile and superficial. Addison comments on the ruling class of Britain with hidden satire because he must also fear those above him. The seemingly insignificant detail Addison provides characterizes the diarist and his society as a place without meaning. Throughout the span of time, the diarist ties his knee strings and washes his hands, dines as usual with a good stomach, eats overcorned beef, and walks in fields with a wind N.E. None of these details give any insight into the diarist or his world. It is as if he is isolated from reality. He cannot, and does not, affect anyone else's life at any point. By going in such detail on such mundane occurrences Addison succeeds in portraying the diarist as depthless and mindless. This type of material, consumer driven, meaningless society is exactly what Addison is protesting and satirizing. Addison's use of repetition contributes to the idea of a meaningless, mundane life where humans become almost robotic and the world never changes. Everyday the diarist makes a comment about his clothes or shoes, discusses

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