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Satire – The Neoclassical Drama. Moliere and Swift. Satire – making fun of current events or social structures through irony, sarcasm and wit /makes fun of moral and social views/ “tongue-in-cheek” humor. Moliere. French actor and playwright

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Satire – making fun of current events or social structures through irony, sarcasm and wit/makes fun of moral and social views/“tongue-in-cheek” humor

  • French actor and playwright
  • Dance and drama were very important to the French aristocracy/helped him promote his art
  • Established his own acting troupe in the court of Louis XIV (1660)
  • Master of Satire
  • Also used physical humor inspired by Commedia dell’arte
moliere continued
Moliere Continued
  • Used 5 act development as seen in Greek and Renaissance (Shakespeare)
  • Superstition – he collapsed during a presentation of The Imaginary Invalid and died later in his home – was wearing yellow on stage – still seen as bad luck by some actors to wear yellow costumes on stage
a modest proposal

“A Modest Proposal”

By Jonathan Swift

what it is and what s it s purpose
What it is, and what’s it’s purpose?

This is a social satire essay.

Swift wrote this in order to make people aware of the abusive tactics that rich English landowners used against poor Irish Catholic peasants.

He thought that England was “exploiting and oppressing Ireland.”

the situation
The Situation

Many Irishmen worked on farms owned by rich English landowners who charged them outrageous rents

Frequently, the peasants could not pay their rental rates and feed their families

Many of these Irish families constantly lived in danger of starvation

The English Protestants viewed these Irish peasants as “dirty, immoral Catholics” who did nothing but procreate and cause trouble

how swift pokes fun at the english
How Swift pokes fun at the English

Swift proposes a VERY outrageous solution to the famine troubles plaguing the Irish

Swift makes fun of the English’s view of the Irish Catholics by appearing to degrade them and say horrible things about them

In reality, he is exposing how bigoted and horrible the English were against an otherwise hardworking people

reading questions
Reading Questions

What is the “problem” that is supposedly causing so much trouble in Ireland?

What are some of the nasty stereotypes about Irish Catholics that Swift makes fun of here?

What is Swift’s “solution” to the starvation of the Irish people?

What are some of the things that Swift suggests in order to carry out this “modest proposal?”

List the “benefits” of his plan, as Swift states in his essay.

At the end of his essay, Swift attempts to put the reader “at ease” by giving us the main reason as to why we should follow his plan and believe that he has everyone’s best interest at heart. What is that reason?