Essay on A GROSS FORM OF DELIGHTFUL SATIRE

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A GROSS FORM OF DELIGHTFUL SATIRE

"The stoical scheme of supplying our wants by lopping off our desires, is like cutting off our feet when we want shoes."

-Jonathan Swift

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love on another."

-Jonathan Swift

Like all true satirists, Swift was predominantly a moralist, one who chastises the vices and follies of humankind in the name of virtue and common sense. Throughout his writing, Swift constantly raised the question of whether the achievements of civilization-its advancing technology, its institutions, its refinement of manners-cannot be seen as complex forms of barbarism. With this theme in mind, Swift wrote some of his best works: A Modest
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In Swift’s conception, then, this highest, purest aspect of Reason is really intuition; it is above and distinct from what is ordinarily regarded as intellectual process. For that reason, comparing Swift to Shakespeare’s Hamlet is conceivable. W.B.C Watkins says the extent of this extreme disillusion, this revulsion from anything physical while still being morbidly attracted to it is largely similar to Hamlet transferring his hatred of his mother’s sin to Ophelia, with his unhappy faculty of generalizations, to all womankind (461). Scholars claimed that through scientific advancement and reason society could achieve a high degree of moral righteousness. Throughout his lifetime critics rejected and even attacked Swift’s writing due to his treatment of women. Critics, including William Makepeace Mchackery, attacked the immorality of Swift’s life, concentrating on what he perceived about his treatment of women to be detestable to the era’s sentimental visions of love and virtue.

Women in their dressing rooms were for Swift a symbol of humankind’s vanity, hypocrisy, and imperfection. The Lady’s Dressing-Room provides a good example of their typical structure. Here, Swift opens creating the image of Celia to be perfect and divine.

Five Hours, (and who can do it less in?) By haughty Celia spent in Dressing;
The Goddess from her chamber issues, Array’d in Lace, Brocades, and Tissues. (1-4)
Swift uses…

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