A Modest Proposal Satire

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The essay “A Modest Proposal” written by Johnathan Swift takes a satirical view on how to solve the starvation issue in Ireland. Swift suggests an obviously satirical solution of eating children around the age of one. He used irony, ambiguity, and ethos to emphasize the satirical nature of the essay and present a captivating idea to the audience. Swift used irony throughout the essay, beginning with the title, “A Modest Proposal”. The irony of the title gives the audience a false idea of what the essay will be, later on he gives his argument and the title serves as an ironic statement. Swift also used the irony of the title to emphasize how absurd his idea truly is, by claiming the proposal is modest he allows the reader to understand how This was mostly done by his descriptions of preparing the children like they are a chicken, and his list of advantages to eating children. While describing how to prepare a child Swift said, “a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food.” The manner in which he described a human child the same way one would a cow, chicken, or fish. The obvious lack of ethics and morals in this passage cement that this essay is satirical and should not be understood as a legitimate solution to the starvation issue. He later listed the advantages of a system that breeds children for food, these advantages are all very unethical simply based off the fact that they are benefits of eating infants. Swift mentioned ideas including the murder of Catholic babies, eating humans as a fun custom, and giving the poor something of value (their own children). His use of ethos shows the audience that the essay is satirical and emphasizes the extreme ridiculousness of his ideas. Swift’s use of these three devices created a captivating and somewhat humorous satire. He used irony and ethos to emphasize the ridiculous nature of the essay, and to show how the practice of eating children would be unethical. He used ambiguity to make the essay a more comedic work rather than a horror about the gruesome practice of child cannibalism. Overall, the satirical essay was

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how johnathan swift's essay "a modest proposal" takes a satirical view on how to solve the starvation issue in ireland.
  • Analyzes how swift used irony throughout the essay, beginning with the title, "a modest proposal", to emphasize how absurd his idea truly is.
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