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Write and essay on the methods and objectives of Swift's satire.

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Introduction

'I have finished my travles..they are admirable things and will wonderfully change mend the world.' (Letter to Charles Ford about Gulliver's Travels). 'Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.' (A Tale of a Tub). Taking one or both of these statements by Swift as a starting point, write and essay on the methods and objectives of Swift's satire. This essay will look at the first quotation of Swift's and analyse his use of satire in Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal and The Lady's Dressing Room. Along with Pope, Gay, and other literary lights, Swift was a member of The Martinus Scriblerus Club. The purpose of this club was to satirise the foolishness of modern man. The influence of the club can be seen in Gulliver's Travels as well as Pope's Dunciad. Swift had been a great traveller and he wanted to set down the most significant of his observations upon human life so that the world might be forced to read them. Gulliver's Travels can be recognised as that complete satire on human life. The novel is a condemnation of certain human traits. ...read more.

Middle

There are two ways of looking at this theme: either man is capable of improving himself, or he is not. Swift writes for any man, and every man. The quote to Charles Ford illustrates clearly that Swift uses the tool of satire to try and reform man. Also Swift could also be defending his wrath by claiming an eagerness to reform. From 1710 to 1714 Swift, who was now a Tory member, was one of the most influential members of the English government. While in London Swift worked passionately for his political ideals. He expected that in return for his efforts he'd be rewarded with a bishopric in England. That way he would remain close to London, the centre of activity. He was slighted, however, and given the Deanship of St. Patrick's in Dublin. This was a blow from which many say Swift never really recovered. Despite his disappointment Swift worked hard for his church in Ireland and for the cause of Irish freedom against the Whigs, many of whom considered Ireland more of a colony than a country. He wrote A Modest Proposal in answer to the Irish problem and the pamphlet was considered by many to be the best satire ever written in English. ...read more.

Conclusion

It turned poor Strephon's bowels' (43). Swift ridicules the conventional love poem and it is certainly shocking 'Beneath the arm-pits well besmeared' (12). The poem can be read as a plea that love should be built on firmer ground than just superficial romantic images. It is an anti-romantic poem that satires the conventional love poem. Swift places an emphasis on sights, sounds and sexual appetites, which represent the hard core realities of life. The poem is horrifying in its emphasis on dirt and bodily functions 'Sweat, dandruff, powder, lead and hair' (24). He is some argue 'forcing the reader to look at their Yahoo nature.'4 There is consequently a link between the poem and Gulliver's Travels as in both he is presenting pictures about debase human activities. In conclusion Swift is using the object of satire to try and reform people's attitudes. He is satirising human follies and asking his reader to look at their own activities and morals. The quote to Charles Ford explains Swift's objectives of satire well as he hopes his writing will produce a reforming zeal in his readers. 1 David Ward, Jonathon Swift-An Introductory Essay (London, 1973) 154 2 David Ward, Jonathan Swift-An Introductory Essay (London, 1973) 170 3 David Ward, Jonathon Swift-An Introductory Essay (London, 1973) 12 4 Edward Rosenheim, Swift and Satirist's Art (The University of Chicago, 1963) 89 ...read more.

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