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Use Of Satire In Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal

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The eighteenth century brought substantial change in England regarding people’s view of science, religion, and literature. Stoic scholars and lower class farmers alike began to shift their thoughts from “why does a specific event happen” to “how does said event happen?” Instead of sitting idly wondering why the river floods, architects and engineers shifted their focus towards possible solutions regarding how to manage the flooding. Three famous works in particular during the Restoration period provide obvious examples of the changing literary style. Paradise Lost by John Milton questions Lucifer’s fall from heaven in a new, unconventional way; “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift uses satire to alleviate some suffering and loss during…show more content…
In the essay Swift portrays himself as a statistician who provides analytical data to back up his hypothesis that the selling of Irish infants as food would solve the problem of poverty and starvation in Irish communities in England. Swift uses different forms of satire including overstatement, understatement, and irony to provide the residents of England a form of comic relief during a time of extreme abuse. Swift himself was in a peculiar situation being both a Protestant and a native of Ireland, but he believes both the Irish and the Protestant can benefit from selling and consuming Irish infants. Swift’s use of understatement is apparent when he describes his proposal as “fair, cheap, and easy.” When he states that his proposal would end abortion, Swift uses overstatement because abortion would no longer be necessary since an infant would cost little to feed and would bring maximum profit to the rich English landowners looking to sell the children as an decadent dish. Swift’s use of satire throughout the essay created a precedent for many authors to find inspiration into writing a work that perfectly balances the use of satire to create an unforgettable piece of
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