Satire In The Lady's Dressing Room

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Jonathan Swift was an eccentric figure among other authors. Although he had maintained quite a few close relationships with women he had been a misogynist, seeing the worst in the opposite sex and using satire to denounce and deride women in general. By the definition satire is a ‘’literary device used to criticize foolishness and flaws of an individual or a society by using humor, exaggeration and irony’’. The target of Swift’s satire in his poem The Lady’s Dressing Room is Celia. Celia serves as a metaphor for all women and her image created by the author is both naturalistic and exagerated. At the beginning of the poem the woman leaves her dressing room after five hours of preparations, which is a great opportunity for Strephon to sneak…show more content…
The main character, a prostitute called Corinna, is satirically titled as a ‘’Pride of Drury-Lane’’. The woman comes home at midnight and prepares herself to rest. First, she has to take off her artificial hair, then pick out a fake, crystal eye to clean it. Corinna pulls off fake eyebrows, made out of mice’ skin, pulls plumbers(a device used to swell out the cheeks) and fake teeth out of her mouth and wipes a thick coat of makeup. The prostitute does not only use substitutes to improve her face, but also the rest of the body: fake breasts, little pillow used by women in the past to make their hips appear wider and a corset. To fall asleep, she needs a medicine, but that doesn’t ensure a peaceful night. She dreams of prison and the time she’s spent there, screams at the memory of whipping. When Corinna wakes up, she realizes that all her items have been destroyed, lost or damaged during the night. For her it’s a tragedy, since she needs all those items to prepare for the day. Despite the desperate situation she still manages to carry on day after day, which is a proof of an incredible strength of her character. Swift’s satire on women displays in the title; Corinna is the exact opposite of a beautiful young nymph and throughout the poem she is also sarcastically described as a lovely goddess or bashful muse. What the author tries to exhibit is that appearance is not the most important aspect of a human being and women who are not conventionally attractive can still be admired for her
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