Satire Modest Proposal Essay

837 Words 4 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 some social commentators, such as Jonathan Swift in his pamphlet A Modest Proposal, use 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 Juvenanlian satire. Swift’s A Modest Proposal stands as a perfect example of the type of satire that plays upon the audience’s emotion by creating anger concerning the indifference of the voice created. He …show more content…
Contrastingly, such morally unconventional solutions would not exist in a calmer, straight forward Horatian satire. Swift’s development of the absurd proposal for eating young children so that “the poorer tenants will have something valuable” or that there “would be constant customers for infants flesh” is enhanced by numerous examples of biting irony. Such irony exists even in the title: “A Modest Proposal.” Upon reading the text, the audience can agree that Swift’s proposal is far from modest and such irony servers to enrage and puzzle the readers to the point that they question why he would be using such shifting, ironic diction. Swift’s use of absurd logic to his proposal supplements the effectiveness of verbal irony, since no one would believe that children should be eaten to improve “in the art of making good bacon”. The aforementioned examples illustrate Swift’s craftiness and the use irony to almost mock the audience. In true Juveliean fashion, such techniques are designed to arouse the reader to anger and suspicion of what is trying to be said. A satire based on the Horatian type wouldn’t use such blatantly offensive irony. Rather, the tone of voice would be “gentler, more good humored and sympathetic” (“Horatian Satire”). In contrast to such an authorial voice, Swift, through
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