Jonathan Swift: Misguided And Incorrect Criticisms

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is quite possibly the greatest satirist in
the history of English literature, and is without question the most
controversial. Infuriated by the moral degradation of society in the
eighteenth century, Swift wrote a plethora of bitter pieces attacking man's
excessive pride, and the critical reception has been one of very mixed
reviews. While few question Swift's skill as a satirist, his savage,
merciless attacks on the foibles of mankind have led more than one critic
to level negative accusations against him. His beliefs have led to
allegations of heresy, an anti-government attitude and a devotion to
freeing man's right to passion. His most famous work, ...

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critics argue
that human nature must be dignified if it is the key theme of Christianity.
They, however, are wrong, and are guilty of being naive. Swift and his
supporters counter their attacks by pointing out that it is hypocritical of
them to revere such vices as corruption, greed, and immortality, and these
critics need to take a serious look at this (Knowles 34-35). Swift himself
has answered these charges of heresy, explaining that he has never been
anti-Christian and only disagrees with the concept of original sin.
Throughout his life and in his writings, Jonathan Swift has always been a
devout man of religion (Tuveson 103, 3).
Critics falsely claim that Jonathan Swift sees God as much too great
for humans (Dennis 58). Swift's writings prove that he has always been a
firm believer that only God and Christ are capable of absolute moral
perfection, but he also strongly believes that man is definitely capable of
shortening the gap (Tuveson 129). Swift has said that he ...

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Swift 14). Swift sees a necessity for government if
man is to ever realize good sensibility. With the help of government,
people can be pushed in the direction of good sense through rules and
regulations and eventually, after being forced to act wisely over and over,
be able to make good decisions on their own (Tuveson 11).
Critics have claimed that Swift's chief goal is to free the world of
passion. This is not the case, as a passionless society would render Swift
incapable of satire, and he realizes this (Ward 6). Swift only wants man
to realize that he is made up of two parts: passion and good sense (Knowles
36). Swift believes, as Kathleen Williams points out, that man's ...

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Jonathan Swift: Misguided And Incorrect Criticisms. (2006, June 21). Retrieved March 20, 2018, from
"Jonathan Swift: Misguided And Incorrect Criticisms.", 21 Jun. 2006. Web. 20 Mar. 2018. <>
"Jonathan Swift: Misguided And Incorrect Criticisms." June 21, 2006. Accessed March 20, 2018.
"Jonathan Swift: Misguided And Incorrect Criticisms." June 21, 2006. Accessed March 20, 2018.
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Added: 6/21/2006 06:37:04 PM
Category: Biographies
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2151
Pages: 8

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