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Swift vs. Chaucer

            Jonathan Swift and Geoffrey Chaucer are key writers of satirical writing, and both had an inherent desire to make the world around them a better place to live. Satire is an artistic form, in which societal or individual mistakes, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to be criticized by the means of ridicule and irony and with the intent to bring about improvement in the individual or in society. Both Swift and Chaucer fulfill the definition of satirical writers, and both are critical of greed and corruption in the upper-class society of the 17th and 18th century. The format of Chaucer's and Swift's satires can be compared and contrasted on the basis of aim, tone, and method. .
             Both Chaucer and Swift aim their satirical piece to all aspects of society to show the evident imperfections of the commonwealth. While Chaucer does this very same thing on more of a personal level, Swift attempts to relate to the people as an assembly rather than being critical of the individual. In Gulliver's Travels, Swift ridicules the English government in Liliput and the values, humanity, and morals in Brobdingnag. In "A Voyage to Liliput,"" Swift makes clear that those in high rank in court are often qualified by unimportant skills, and not by education or talent for that position. "Gulliver's Travel's is Swift's final word on human beings as individuals and as social animals. All his contempt and hatred for the pettiness, cruelty, injustice, and stupidity that he saw in people was poured into this greatest of all prose satires."" (373) In contrast, Chaucer's main focus of concern and mockery is in the people of the church. Both satires are meant to reach the common people and to educate them, making society feel a need for reform. .
             The tones of Swift and Chaucer are meant to make the satire palpable, and not in the least subtle. In his masterpiece, The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer uses a mild and gentle manner in his writing.

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