A Modest Proposal and Other Satires

A Modest Proposal

I know that Swift's intended audience was the English (British) people, but why?

Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

The narrator of “A Modest Proposal” is English, but he is making prescriptions for the Irish. With this structure, Swift reveals the cultural arrogance of the English and the political subjugation felt by the Irish. Swift mocks the view of the English as civilized and the Irish as an uncivilized “barbaric” or “savage” people. Rumors had been circulating in the eighteenth century about cannibalism among such “inferior” groups as the Irish and Native Americans. Claims like these were used to support England’s right to rule over these peoples and colonize new territories. Swift has an American suggest cannibalism in "A Modest Proposal," as Americans (especially Native Americans) were seen as a savage, culturally inferior group compared to the English.