Juvenelian Satire in A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift Essay

1052 Words 5 Pages
Effectively ushering change in society or pointing out faults that have existed and gone unnoticed can be a daunting task for any social commentator. Often, blandly protesting grievances or concerns can fall upon deaf ears and change can be slow or non-existent. However, Jonathan Swift in his pamphlet A Modest Proposal, uses clever, targeted, and ironic criticism to bring the social state of Ireland to the attention of indolent aristocrats. He accomplishes such criticism through satire, specifically Juvenalian satire. Swift’s A Modest Proposal stands as an example of the type of satire that plays upon the audience’s emotion by creating anger concerning the indifference of the voice created. He complements such criticism with sophisticated, …show more content…
This fact arouses anger, in that the audience realizes the proposer seems indifferent to the fact that he is proposing to murder thousands of children. Contrastingly, such morally unconventional solutions would not exist in a calmer, straight forward Horatian satire. Yet, even in evaluating how anger is emotionally imposed on the audience due to the absurdity of the proposal, it’s impossible to disregard the role of humor. There are obvious elements of humor throughout the proposal and amusement in the very nature of the proposal is expected. However, any sense of humor abruptly disappears at the heart of the critism. When the proposer begins stating “I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against this proposal” the humor stops and the voice of Swift, as well as sharp criticism, begins. Although humor may be an integral part of the proposal and certainly a partial indication of the use of Horatian satire, the fact that humor isn’t present throughout the whole proposal suggests that the use of hilarity is secondary. Rather, this contrast of humor and emotionally imposed irritation only helps to emphasize the role of anger. This is especially evident when one considers the irony that litters the humorous proposal. Swift’s development of the absurd proposal
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