The Lady's Dressing Room Analysis

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Samuel Washburn Prof. Russell EN 231 2 October 2014 The Poetic Argument Between Dr. Johnathan Swift and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu Dr. Swift’s, The Lady’s Dressing Room, is an 18th century satirical poem that addresses British social issues via the lens of feminine beauty, and how that beauty is a form of artifice. The poem uses beauty as a sort of philosophical metaphor for the main character, Strephon, to confront the realistic underbelly of feminine beauty/hygiene, which is portrayed as lurid and shocking, for the purpose of personal and social vanity. The poem was labeled misogynistic at the time of its writing, and continues to be viewed as such. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu issued a response to Dr. Swift in a poem called The Reasons that Induced Dr. S to Write a Poem Called The Lady’s Dressing Room. Lady Montagu’s poem fabricates a poetic and witty story as to why Dr. Swift would write his poem, which is an embarrassing encounter with a prostitute. While Montagu’s poem does not claim authenticity of the story being told, she does take Dr. Swift to task over the misogynistic tones that he used to write his poem. The primary issue that Lady Montagu argues in her poem is that Dr. Swift, despite raising valid issues, negates his argument because of his strong berating of…show more content…
Swift’s, as evident in the title The Reasons that Induced Dr. S. to Write a Poem Called The Lady’s Dressing Room. The poem creates a backstory to why Dr. Swift would write a poem that is offensive to women, which is that he had trouble getting an erection when visiting a prostitute – and too add insult to injury, he had to pay for the encounter. While Montagu’s wit is on display in full force, the poem is a well-argued response, in addition to being vindictive. The poem is so pointed with personal attacks that it would be greatly applauded in an contemporary poetry slam or rap battle, perhaps more so than it was in 17-18th century
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