Swift’s Criticism of Society in "A Modest Proposal"

Anglo-Irish writer Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” (anonymously published in 1729) is a powerful political satire about the economic and social conditions of the poor in Ireland under British rule. The essay is rich with references to political events in England and Ireland in the 18th century. Swift takes ‘irony’ as the best weapon to attack on all kinds of vice and injustice prevailing in the society. Now we will see how Swift criticizes the society in his essay.

Before, entering into our discussion we are to know something the miserable condition of that Ireland. Actually the misfortune of Ireland begins when, in 1541, the Irish recognizes England’s Henry viii, a Protestant, as king of Ireland. The protestant landlords acquire almost ten percent of estates. Meanwhile, a law is enacted limiting the rights of Irish to hold government office, purchase, real estate and get education. Consequently, many of Irish flee … Read More