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A Modest Proposal

             "A Modest Proposal" is a satirical essay written by Jonathan Swift depicting the horrific conditions in Ireland and the lives of the Irish people in 1729. The author portrays and attacks the cruel, unjust oppression of Ireland by the mighty English and ridicules the Irish people at the same time. .
             Swift's motives for writing "A Modest Proposal," were complex. He felt that he had been exiled to Ireland when he would have much preferred to have been in England, and his personal sense of the wrongs he had suffered at the hands of the English only intensified the anger he felt at the way England mistreated Ireland. He lived in an Ireland which was a colony, politically, militarily, and economically dependent upon England. It was manifestly in England's interest to keep things as they were; a weak Ireland could not threaten England, and the measures which kept it weak were profitable for the English. As a result, Ireland was a desperately poor country, overpopulated, full, as Swift said, of beggars, wracked periodically by famine, heavily taxed, and with no say at all in its own affairs. Swift was enraged at the passivity of the Irish people, who had become so habituated to the situation that they seemed incapable of making any effort to change it. His response to oppression was to present a proposal so grotesquely brutal that it would open the eyes of the Irish and incite them to rise up against their oppressors. He used a satire to accomplish his objective because it was the most effective way to awaken the people of Ireland to the recognition of their own plight.
             Swift creates a fictional persona because by hiding his true identity he is able to convince the reader of the significance of Ireland's problem and allow them to see truth and reality. The persona is a concerned Irishman who is very intelligent, sound, and serious. He appears to be a brute and a monster for proposing something evil and immoral very calmly as if it is normal to consume the flesh of another human being.

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