Satire of a Modest Proposal Essay

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Irony is a beautiful technique exercised to convey a message or call a certain group of people to action. This rhetorical skill is artfully used by Jonathan Swift in his pamphlet “A Modest Proposal.” The main argument for this mordantly ironic essay is to capture the attention of a disconnected and indifferent audience. Swift makes his point by stringing together a dreadfully twisted set of morally untenable positions in order to cast blame and aspersions on his intended audience. Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” employs despicably vivid satire to call for change in a world of abuse and misfortune. The entire proposal stands as a satire in itself; an analogy paralleling the tyrannical attitude of the British toward their Irish …show more content…
The British have reigned over the Irish so long and so cruelly that they have left Ireland in “state of dependence” psychologically, politically, and economically. In other words, the “ideology of Protestant consumption” has “actually eroded” the self-confidence and sense of worth of the Irish so badly that it has left Ireland a nation unable to sustain itself (Mahoney). England is eating up Ireland. But this tribulation cannot be blamed solely on the British. Swift cleverly condemns the British aristocracy for their mistreatment of the Irish people while also criticizing the Irish people for allowing this exploitation. The Irish have done nothing to halt the terrorizing nature of their domineering counterparts. Swift uses this proposal to “the wretched Irish situation” (Lockwood). By “rigorously underplaying the aspect of fantasy in his proposal,” Swift suggests the Irish have arrived at a condition in which such a plan may be seriously considered (Lockwood). Booth describes that every detail of Swift’s proposal “supports the inference that the woes of Ireland make, indeed, a ‘melancholy Object.’” In essence, the “anger against the English is used merely to heighten” Swift’s own dismay over the way Ireland has conducted itself (Booth). Swift craftily causes readers to question more than just how to fix the problems in fraught Ireland. Through the supreme verbal irony of his
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