What is the purpose of "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The purpose of "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift was to alleviate the suffering of the Irish Catholics. he was Dean of the Anglican Cathedral in Dublin, and as such was in the position to observe first hand the sufferings of the Irish under English rule. The logic of this work is that of reductio ad absurdum, suggesting an absurd remedy to show the gravity of the situation and the lack of reasonable alternatives that would enable the Irish to alleviate their own poverty, and thus the need for charity. We know that the suggestion of eating babies is not serious because of both the general acceptable standards of the place and period and also Swift's own biography and position.