A Comparison Of Enlightenment Thinking Essay

1078 words - 4 pages

In A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift challenges the Neo-classical period by creating a sense of instability in their way of thinking. He attacks the society by carelessly endorsing cannibalism in hopes to help Ireland through their economic crisis. He demonstrates this by humbly proposing and assuring "that a young healthy child, well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food." (Swift, 485) Implying that society should eat children shows that the individual (the child) is seen as an unimportant individual to society; therefore, is not valued when considering an effective resolution to their situation. This provides criticism to the Neo-Classical beliefs that society is more important than the individual. The Neo-Classic's logic and reasoning aspect is attacked by Swift's persuasion that eating a child is a valid response to help fix their oppression. His introduction clearly states that his purpose is" for Preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden to their Parents or Country, and for making them beneficial to the Publick." (Swift 483) His reasoning for the proposal is ultimately satisfied through his sound thinking that evidently has nothing to do with his feelings about the matter. The narrator than proceeds to give the audience justification of his statement, and therefore attempting to challenge the Neo-Classic's fact that logic and reasoning is more important than a person's emotion's. Optimism in the Neo-Classical period is criticized through the projector's tone in the proposal. Swift demands the audience to recognize the narrator's purpose "having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing our trade, providing for infant's, relieving the poor, and giving some pleasure to the rich." (Swift 489) The speaker optimistically believes that his idea is for the best. If Swift did not believe that his idea would not have a positive outcome he would not have suggested. Regardless of Swift's inhumane suggestion, which is negative, he only tries to reveal the positive of the situation. This feeling of insecurity is his way of disparaging the Irish and English government.

In Tartuffe, Moliere's use's plot to defend and oppose characters that symbolize and ridicule habitual behavior's that was imposed during the neo-classical time period. His work, known as a comedy of manners, consists of flat characters, with few and similar traits, and that always restore some kind of peace in the end. He down plays society as a whole by creating a microseism, where everyone in the family has to be obedient, respectful, and mindful of the head of the home, which is played by the father Orgon. Mariane shows her obedience when she replies "To please you, sir, is what delights me best." (Moliere 324,11) Shortly afterwards, Orgon commands Mariane to take Tartuffe as her husband even though she is not interested in him at all. Orgon's command shows how men are dominate and have...

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