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What makes satire an effective form of criticism?

Categories Criticism, Satire

Essay, Pages 5 (1056 words)

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Essay, Pages 5 (1056 words)

Gulliver’s travels satireFrom the late seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century European idea was dominated by the concept of rationality. No longer did guys accept supernatural or spiritual descriptions for the method things were as they had previously. In the Age of Reason whatever was to be described logically, according to natural causes.

However if reason helped philosophers and researchers to penetrate some of the mysteries of nature, it proved less effective in resolving issues within human society.

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The contradictions between guy’s rational, intellectual achievements and the unreasonable method he performed his life led some writers to question the Age of Factor’s assumption that guy is a rational creature. Satire becomes the dominant kind in literature, as writers ridiculed an animal who might find the laws of thermodynamics however could not organize a sane society.

Authors of the Age of Factor might just compose books about the problems that the nation was experiencing in this Age of Factor, however they discovered in satire the finest way to make critics about all of the imperfections that disturbed a fantastic part of the society.

Among theses authors that is worthy of highlight because of his well-qualified works is Jonathan Swift.

When Swift desired to criticize any institution he utilized to make some serious attacks using his industrialized cynicism. However it is very important to know that, while he never fails to criticize institutions and humanity at big, he never maligns an individual. Rather, he focuses directly on the primary religious, political and social issues of the age.

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Swift’s work that effectively shows his satirical view and which most likely is his best book is Gulliver’s Travels.

Gulliver’s Journeys is an impractical novel which was composed in the form of an imaginary trip. The lead character of the book makes 4 trips, each one to a various country and on all of them Swift discovers a way to slam something in the reality which he lives.

In 2 of these trips we see Gulliver as the curious observer of lesser and ludicrous civilizations. However on the other two trips, nevertheless, Gulliver ends up being mindful of his inferiority.

In his first voyage, after being shipwrecked, he finds Lilliput, a kingdom of tiny people whose customs and political order is intended to satirize the court of George I (King of Great Britain when Gulliver’s Travels was written). While telling Gulliver’s first travel, Swift satirizes the political system of England at his time, showing ministers who maintained their positions not by defending principles, not by their competence any neither by their desire to transform England in a better country, but by political acrobatics.

In his second voyage to the land of the giants, instead of feeling superior to the inhabitants of this country like in Lilliput, this time it is Gulliver who is small and insignificant. In an attempt to impress the king, Gulliver describes the political and legal institutions of England and how do they work, as well as some of the personal habits of the ruling class. The supreme moment of ironical criticism of European civilization occurs when, after offering the secret of gunpowder to the King and his horrified refusal, Gulliver declares the King to possess “narrow principles and short views!”

Of course, mankind would never be so thoughtless as to refuse to learn a new method of injuring, torturing, or killing his enemies. In addition to this comment on human nature, Swift is also referring to the excitement that European nations would feel with such an offer. In this passage of the book Swift criticize the war and his political writings indicate that he, like the Brobdingnagians, favored a conception of government and society based on common-sense.

On his third voyage, after being abandoned in the middle of the ocean by pirates, Gulliver is rescued by the flying island of Laputa, a kingdom devoted to the arts of music and mathematics but unable to use these for practical ends. While walking around the island Gulliver learns about the methods Laputians use to teach math to their students. They believe that if the students write down the resolution of a problem and then eat the sheet of paper without eating anything else for three days they would learn everything quickly. In this passage Swift easily ridicules academic pedantry and poorly planned scientific research, which specially make fun of the Royal Society (Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge). But the main focus of social criticism in the voyage to Laputa is on intellectuals, such as scholars, philosophers, and scientists, who often get lost in theoretical abstractions and conceptions to the exclusion of the more pragmatic aspects of life.

In the forth and final voyage Gulliver visits the land where the rational creatures are horses, called Houyhnhnms (which means “the perfection of nature”) and the creatures who look like men are dirty and irrational, called Yahoos. Yet on the surface, the forth voyage seems to argue that reason is one quality, when properly developed, can elevate man to his ultimate potential. But ironically it is the horse (Houyhnhnms) that possess this perfect development of reason, whereas the Yahoos, whom Gulliver most resembles, are primitive and inhuman. Voyage four contains Swift’s clearest attack on human pride. But the object of the satiric attack in the last voyage is man himself: here Swift is attacking the Yahoo in each of us.

The main object of satire in Gulliver’s Travels is human nature itself, specifically man’s pride. Gulliver’s character, as a satirical device, serves Swift’s ends by being both a representative for some of Swift’s ideals and criticisms and as an illustration of them. Thus, critiques on human nature are made through Gulliver’s observations as well as through Gulliver’s own transformation from an immature individual into an intelligent and cynical misanthrope.

Swift in Gulliver’s Travels raises disturbing questions about the disagreements between the ideals we profess and the way we actually live. Far from being an eminently rational creature, man, says Swift, is a creature who is capable of reasoning but who uses his intelligence for absurd and selfish ends. Jonathan Swift also tries to awake the world to the fact that humankind needs salvation, but it has to save its own self.

Bibliograph:

a brief view of British Literature, the research and planning department of the CCAA

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What makes satire an effective form of criticism?. (2016, Jul 20). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/what-makes-satire-an-effective-form-of-criticism-essay

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