Ethos, logos and pathos in a modest proposal by Jonathan Swift

Pathos is what the Irish survive and thrive on, so Swift begins her proposal with that. She presents a melancholy image to readers of her in the opening lines of A Modest Proposal, reminiscent of the beggars and urchins in Irish doorways, the women followed by three, four or six children. The first paragraph also contains seeds of his logical and ethical arguments, mentioning the insistence on handouts as a social evil, presumably because the practice offends certain wealthy people who are the ‘importers’, and the unpatriotic practice of leaving Ireland to fight for an English enemy. She then provokes the emotions of her audience once more, preparing her own nest for her later addition to the deal, saying that whoever offers a cheap and easy solution to this dilemma should have a statue erected in her honor. her.

Presented a pathetic argument, the author jumps to a much more ethical one. Considering a definition of Ethos as the ‘character and definition of a community’, Swift’s reference to the substitution of venison for youths and maidens is a place in A Modest Proposal that focuses on the ethical part of the argument. He does so by allowing Swift to mention what he considers to be a truly outrageous idea, uttered by a companion of his, a true lover of his country, who like others of his breed has lost all his deer. The mate’s solution is to replace the deer with young boys and maidens not exceeding fourteen years of age. Tongue firmly installed in cheek, Swift is legitimately disgusted by such an idea, citing the fact that the flesh of such children would be tough and sinewy, therefore unacceptable to such refined palates. Let Swift be so wary of the tastes and sensibilities of the only people who matter in Ireland, like the highly esteemed gentleman, such a worthy patriot.

But the idea is reversed, since the author clearly summarizes the values ​​and ethics of the community that, at least considering the reproductive potential of females, would constitute a loss for the public. He continues to spare the energies and sensibilities of scrupulous people who, unfairly in his opinion, would decry the practice as cruel. This has always been Swift’s personal opinion, so his ideas are in line with the ethos of the community. There have clearly been other, in his opinion, unethical practices, and he abhors them. He says.

Then Swift goes on to pick up on the idea, claiming that her friend gave it to her from a Formosan fellow, who says that those from his country considered among the rabble for whatever reason are handed over to Quality People as prime delicacies. Ever the ethic, Swift ponders this, mindful of the community’s financial interests, naturally, and then admits that eating girls who don’t have a single Groat in their fortunes may not be such a bad idea after all. The Kingdom would be no worse. He says.

As for the logical considerations of A Modest Proposal, its appeal to reason, we refer to the detailed list, beginning with the presence of too many papists. Logic dictates that they pose a danger to the country, with their annual issue of even more of their kind, their sinister political leanings, and their financial allegiance to the Catholic Church through tithing, none of which of course reached the Rev. A Sunday’s Swift Basketball Collection.

Second, again more logically, the proposal would give the poor something they have no experience with, namely money of their own, and thus a way to pay rent! This can be seen as an appeal to logos or pathos, as landlords, being subject to certain emotions, are likely to be reluctant to evict their non-paying clients. The idea of ​​tenants having money would of course allow landlords to raise the rent, so it’s a good idea since the corn and cattle have already been seized. It is obvious that Swift concedes certain ruthless, and therefore unethical, behavior to owners, who must have been a favorite target of his pen. However, the statement seems perfectly logical and unquestionable. He says.

The third in the line of logical arguments refocuses on public coffers. Since the expense is so great to support poor unfortunate children, why not use the proposal not only to make Ireland rich, but to give the country something it lacks, an industry of its own? The irony is rich; Swift moves from a discussion of financial issues and cold, hard economic concerns, straight into new dishes and restaurant concepts. Of course, the only people who will benefit are the (thinly veiled) English aristocracy, those Knights of Fortune in the Kingdom, who evidently lack not food, but enough imagination to create new recipes.

The fourth argument, and perhaps the most logical, concerns the very poor themselves, the so-called constant breeders. Swift includes them in the discussion, assuming they too understand the need for his proposal. Just think, she says, once this idea takes root, he’ll be free of the burden of raising these kids once they turn a year old. Besides, you’ll have eight shillings a year! Who can deny the logic of this? It is obvious that Mr. Swift has little regard for the Irish peasants, even though he seems to include them in his grand plan. This is, perhaps, the way the Irish have been treated all along by another authoritarian entity, the English government across the water.

In fifth place, he returns to the culinary aspects of the proposal, citing the gastronomic possibilities of rich people, whom winegrowers may be able to dispossess with ever-increasing prices. So Swift not only made her logical appeal to the patriotic, the religious, and the wealthy, but she extends the proposition to commoners and even beggars. How can it go astray? He asks.

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