A Modest Proposal And Montagu's Irony

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It is often said that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” This may be the case because words form an avenue of expression and grant people a certain kind of power. Many authors of the 1700s seemed to write with this philosophy to gain validation or justice for causes they supported as underdogs in society. As frequently happens, there are exceptions to the rule in which authors actually seem to dig deeper holes for themselves. Jonathan Swift and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu are two underdogs who appeared to use the pen as a valuable weapon, while Mary Leapor seems to have used the pen as a weapon against herself only. Jonathan Swift uses “A Modest Proposal” to seek validation as well as justice for his cause. “A Modest Proposal” is a satirical piece which discusses how to keep Irish children from being a burden on their families and their country by eating them. Swift published “A Modest Proposal” in 1729, after several of his other essays proposing different ways in which to boost the Irish economy were more or less ignored. Since he had already produced so much content on the subject that had been ignored, he could be considered an underdog with this additional essay. The effects of the irony…show more content…
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, a critic of Swift’s beliefs and the standards placed on women at the time, published letters and poems demonstrating her knowledge and spunk. One such poem, “The Reasons That Induced Dr. Swift to Write a Poem Called the Lady’s Dressing Room,” was written in response to Swift’s “The Lady’s Dressing Room.” Swift’s disgusting poem goes into grotesque detail about the objects in a woman’s dressing room. Montagu’s poem fights against Swift’s assertion that women are disgusting by nature by discussing their disgusting habits as a sort of power play. Montagu, as a non-traditional woman, serves as the underdog seeking power for herself and women in
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