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Socio Economic Conditions In 18th Century Ireland

1195 words - 5 pages

Paper Topic 1: Ireland, England and Swift.Early in the 18th century turmoil began to brew in Ireland. A series of rulings in the British house of Parliament took more and more control out of the hands of the Irish. Britain passed laws and instituted practices that were highly lucrative to it self yet immensely damaging to the people of its colonies (Colley 213). A number of political and intellectual figures began to speak out on the atrocities enacted upon the people of their homelands. Countless satirists took it upon themselves to initiate awareness of the conditions and havoc, if not a total social revolution.Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist and political pamphleteer who today is ...view middle of the document...

The new Tory ministers, gauging Swift's powers as a political writer more accurately than had the Whig leaders, entrusted him to take over the official Tory publication, the Examiner (Kelly npg).Like all true satirists, Swift was predominantly a moralist, one who chastises the vices and follies of mankind 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.Practices Swift saw as barbaric were that of the English treatment towards the Irish. He felt England was raping Ireland for all it was worth. While the people of his home country begged in the streets and died of starvation in the gutters, England and her people sat idly by and grew fat on wealth garnered from Ireland (Read npg). The indignation and resentment Swift felt towards the English can be seen not only in A Modest Proposal. The Majority of Swift's work is jeering at best, indignant and bitingly cynical at worst. In 1727 Swift made his final trip to England. What he saw on this trip was the straw that broke the figurative camel's back. The English insensitivity to the Irish plight impelled Swift to embark on his most mocking and derisive works (Norfolk npg).Prior to the "Age of Enlightenment," the consideration of others as equal entities had not been taken into account. Swift took what was relatively commonplace British colonial policy and carried it to its inevitable conclusion, recommending that since the conquerors have consumed the island and its resources, it could pursue a useful policy for dealing with Irish children by butchering them and making them food for the British Swift satirically distinguishes madness from sanity, determines the cause of madness, and finds a function for it in a healthy society.This proposal, where he suggests that the Irish eat their own children, is one of his most drastic pieces. He devoted much of his writing to the struggle for Ireland against the English domination (Norfolk npg).Swift begins his proposal by describing the sorts of morose settings a tourist would find himself in if ever he were to walk down the streets. From there, he skillfully includes computations he has made on the subjects of...

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