Jonathan Swift was born in Ireland, he was educated there and he became a priest. He became one of the most influential writers of the Augustan Age. He wrote satirical works against political corruption, usually in defense of Irish, characterized by his polemical genius. Swift’s best and most famous pamphlets are those related to the social and political situation of Ireland, especially A Modest Proposal, which paradoxically suggests the use of Irish children as food for the rich.
His final years were spent in lethargy because of an illness that caused the loss of his mental powers.
It seems to sum up the best of Swift’s Irony. Irony is the most powerful instrument of satire and one of the most difficult to use, it is mainly based on the discrepancy between what the sentences seem to be saying and what they are really saying. Swift is able to say the most atrocious things in the most natural possible way. A Modest Proposal was inspired by the dreadful conditions Swift found in Ireland where famine and starvation were widespread.
The Macabre Proposal, contained in this work, was to use one years old babies for the meat market and sell them as food, but Swift takes the opportunity to hit other targets, such as poverty due to overpopulation or the voluntary abortion. Yet he doesn’t limit himself to denouncing the English exploitation of Ireland and the dull inefficiency of Irish people in the management of country’s economy, who are literally consuming their own wealth.
[nine months after the Lent because in this period of the year women eat more fish that favors the reproduction.]