The Golden Age Of British Satire Essay

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The 18th century is seen as the Golden Age of British satire particularly due to the work of writers like Johnathan Swift, Alexander Pope or John Gay. Satire is interesting because it is firmly anchored in its time, it is often a reaction to specific event which explains its popularity. Furthermore to be successful a satire requires the reader to be able to read the different levels of the text as well as being well-balanced between humour and criticism. This essay will seek to highlight what satirists tried to achieve and how by criticizing their society or the politics of their time. This will be focused on the first half of the century with guidance from the works of Johnathan Swift and John Gay and especially on the years 1720s and 1730s time when were published the most successful satires of the century: Gulliver’s Travels in 1726 and The Beggar’s Opera in 1727.

The reason why the 18th century became the Golden Age of British satire can be explained by multiple factors happening at the same time and changing society. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 had strengthened the role of Parliament and it was a time of development for the parties which became more distinctive and more personalized. Furthermore a huge shift happened when the Licensing Act was not renewed in 1691 and literary works became more free (although it could still have consequences, people were still reading and sharing it nevertheless). This freedom greatly helped circulates ideas,…

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