British Literature: 18thCentury
IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Write short notes on the following in about 200 words each:
(i) Historical Circumstances of 17th and 18th Century England.
Ans. England faced volatile political situation when Defoe lived in the 17th and 18th century. Besides his luck in trade, Defoe also tried to be a polemical writer. When Defoe was born, Charles II’s restoration to the throne happened.
King and Parliament struggled with one another for political clout. In 1683, Defoe released his first political pamphlet.
Defoe vociferously expressed his politico-religious affiliation. After the death of Charles II, his brother, James, took charge in 1685 and aggravated the already explosive political situation.
James II, a Roman Catholic and an ally of England’s political rival France, was seen by his opponents as a danger to the Church of England as well as to civil liberties during a time when the country had just came out of a civil war (1642-1651) that was fought to protect liberties. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Towards the end of 1688, James II was displaced by his nephew and son-in-law, William of Orange, after a series of episodes called the ‘Glorious Revolution.’
Defoe was a passionate supporter of William III and became his leading pamphleteer and eulogised this revolution as championing the cause of the Protestant people of England against persecution and discrimination of religious minorities.
After William III died, “Tories” became more powerful and Defoe faced a series of setbacks and was constantly persecuted as a Dissenter.
Dissenters were generally “Whigs” and the political tide once again turned against them after William III’s death.
In response to ever-increasing aggressive Toryism, Defoe wrote “The Shortest Way with Dissenters,” where he lampooned High Anglican extremism that led to his prosecution and brief imprisonment. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
After his release from jail, he was stuck in a public pillory for three days. Subsequent ministries appointed Defoe as a propagandist and also a spy.
His circumstances, both social and financial, compelled him to swear loyalty to the Tory party when he served as Queen Anne’s pamphleteer.
However, he faced financial problems and died of a stroke while trying to escape from an indefatigable creditor in 1731.
Ans. Enlightenment is an European intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries in which ideas concerning God, reason, nature and humanity were synthesized into a worldview that gained wide assent in the West and that instigated revolution-
The aims and styles of poetry in the period before the death of Robert Walpole were based on the political affilaitions of the poets.
Political patronage that had supported many earlier writers. Poets of the period wrote on topical subjects.
They used to praise public figures or criticised politicians and government policies. During the Age of Dryden (to 1700), the Age of Pope (to 1744) and the Age of Johnson (to 1784), the regularity of the heroic couplet was the predominant metre for poetry. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Literature dealt with the metropolitan culture and political issues.
ary developments in art, philosophy and politics.
Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition.
The goals of rational humanity were consid- ered to be knowledge, freedom, and happiness.
Its adherents found “universal and uniform human reason adequate to solve the crucial problems and to establish the essential norms in life, together with the belief that the application of such reason was rapidly dissipating the darkness of superstition, prejudice and barbarity.”
Reason was widely perceived as a panacea for universal peace, happiness and freedom of humanity from authority and unexamined tradition.
Swift was more interested in the abuse of science and reason done by none other than the custodians of reason. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
As a Tory sympathiser, he had witnessed the moral and political decadence of the Whig administration.
Swift’s satire captures the biggest paradox of modernity, for reason and science became tools to subvert the principles of justice, equality and democracy.
As a critic of the Enlightenment thought, he challenged the notion that man was a rational creature and superior to other animals.
The manner in which Swift’s satire works is something that is very remarkable and we see bits of it in the next section. In Book IV of Gulliver’s Travels, Swift strategically subverts the accepted wisdom that man is more rational than horses.
In his world, horses are rational animals and superior to civilised humans whereas, the Yahoos – fictional representations of men, are barbarians. He seems to turn Butler’s remark upside down and conclude that a horse is no man.
(iii) Major Characteristics of Restoration Period
Ans. The period from 1660 to 1700 is known as the Restoration period. The restoration of King Charles II in 1660 marks the beginning of a new era both in the life and the literature of England.
The King was received with wild joy on his return from exile. The change of government from Commonwealth to Kingship corresponded to a change in the mood of the nation. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
In this period the Renaissance delight in this world and the unlimited possibilities of the exploration of the world, and the moral zeal and the earnestness of the Puritan period could no more fascinate the people of England.
During this period gravity, moral earnestness and decorum in all things, which distinguished the Puritan period, were thrown to the winds.
The natural instincts which were suppressed during the previous era came to violent excesses.
The Great Fire of 1665 and the Plague that followed were popularly regarded as suitable punishments for the sins of the profligate and selfish King.
The beginning of the Restoration began the process of social transformation. The atmosphere of gaiety and cheerfulness, of licentiousness and moral laxity was restored. The theatres were reopened.
There was a stern reaction against the morality of the Puritans. Morality was on the wane. There was laxity everywhere in life. All these tendencies of the age are clearly reflected in the literature of the period. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
This era also witnessed the rise of two political parties the Whigs and the Tories. These parties were to play a significant role in English politics.
The Whigs sought to limit the powers in the interest of the people and the Parliament. The Tories supported the Divine Right theory of the King and strove to restrain the powers of the people in the interest of the hereditary rulers.
The rise of these political parties gave a fresh importance to men of literary ability. Almost all the writers of this period had political affiliations.
(iv) Poetry in 18th century
Ans. Samuel Johnson, Thomas Gray, William Collins, William Cowper, George Crabbe, Edward Young, Mark Akenside, or Oliver Goldsmith are the famous names by which the period of the mid-18th century poetry is known.
These poets started moving away from the strict Augustan ideals and a new emphasis on the sentiment and feelings of the poet was established.
The reason for the many names may be during that time the political patronage had ended and writers were writing commissioned pieces.
This was a turning point for poetry that overtly reflected and commented on government and public matters. Poets of this later period drew away from topical subjects. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
They stopped praising public figures and attacking politicians and government policies. Instead they focused on broader social, moral and even personal issues while using a deeper, more reflective tone in their poetry.
This trend can perhaps be most clearly seen in the handling of nature, with a move away from poems about formal gardens and landscapes by urban poets and towards poems about nature as lived in.
This common subject-matters made attracted many people to writing.
Q. 1. Comment on the development of the charactr of Robinson Crusoe in the story.
Ans. Robinson Crusoe undergoes many events in his life, such as his failure to sail and ashore in the remote island. The event of failure in sailing does not affect him to go to sea for adventure. He begins his first voyage at Hull by ship.
The ship begins to leave Hull and he is ready to sail going to London. The ship is no sooner gotten out of the Humber, but the wind begins to blow and the waves are very high in a terrifying manner. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
His experience in the first sea voyage has made him fearfully sick in body, but he is not easily disappointed. By the time, after fourteen more days at sea Crusoe and his crew really have a terrible storm.
The wind is blowing hard, they work hard at the pumps, but the water still rises. This condition does not make Crusoe become afraid and he remains continuing his voyage even though a few days later a terrible hurricane comes to him.
Crusoe’s business instincts are just as considerable as his survival instincts: he manages to make a fortune in Brazil despite a twenty- eight-year absence and even leaves his island with a nice collection of gold.
When Crusoe lives in the island, he learns many skills. He plants the grain, because the earth is good, so the grain grows well. Sometimes he kills the animal to be eaten.
After he is in the island for a long time, he thinks about escaping from this island. Then he decides to make a boat from a big tree. For about five months, he has finished the boat and he begins a voyage, but he fails to carry out his dreams.
His perseverance in spending months making a canoe, and in practicing pottery making until he gets it right, is praiseworthy.
Additionally, his resourcefulness in building a home, dairy, grape arbor, country house, and goat stable from practically nothing is clearly remarkable. The ordeals make him grow and develops him into a strong personality.
Q. 2. Critically analyse important characters of Gulliver’s Travels Book III.
Ans. Don Pedro De Mendez: He is the Portuguese captain. He brings Gulliver back to England from the land of the Houyhnhnms who consider him a Yahoo. He is generous as he offers Gulliver his clothes, but Gulliver thinks of him as a Yahoo.
Emperor of Lilliput: The 28-year-old is six inches tall. He has ruled for seven years. He is vengeful, spiteful, and hungry for more power and wants to defeat the neighbouring kingdom of Blefuscu. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The conflict between Lilliput and Blefuscu is an allegorical representation of the rivalry between England and France.
The ruler seeks Gulliver’s help in expanding his territory, but Gulliver refuses to help him. After that, he accuses Gulliver of treason.
He brings an impeach-ment against him. The ruler is against capital punishment and thus decides that Gulliver be blinded and starved to death. Guliver he escapes before the execution.
Flimnap: He is the treasurer of Lilliput. He is against Gulliver because the state has to spend an enormous amount of money on feeding the “Man-Mountain”.
He also believes that Gulliver is having an affair with his wife and they meet in a private place.
The accusation looks absurd when Gulliver defends himself without referring to the disproportion of size between them. He is the fictional representation of the Whig Prime Minister Robert Walpole. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Glumdalclitch: She is the nine-year-old daughter of a farmer, who finds Gulliver in Brobdingnag. She is forty feet tall.
She takes care of tiny Gulliver gently and makes him several sets of tiny clothes. When the queen buys Gulliver, she continues to look after him.
When her father reduces Gulliver to a public spectacle and makes a profit out of him, she treats him as a toy.
Gulliver: Lemuel Gulliver is the narrator and protagonist of the book. He was trained as a surgeon but decides to go on four voyages one after another.
When he starts his first voyage, he is a proud Englishman but he chnages after meeting Houyhnhnms and Yahoos and develops antipathy towards mankind.
He draws a parallel between England and the new islands that he discovers and considers England initially superior to the places he visits.
He hardly learns from his experiences. After returning to England, he starts hating humans and finds comfort amidst horses.
His desire to go on new adventures despite facing humiliation and sexual abuse shows the 18th century pre-occupation with travels and exploration of new places.
Houyhnhnms: They are horse-like creatures and live a virtuous life in a Utopian world. Vices such as dubious propositions, controversies, falsehood and disputes are not known to them. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
They are rational creatures and they have no word for lying and cheating. They look down upon Gulliver as a Yahoo.
King of Brobdingnag: The king of Brobding-nagians whoc are sixty-foot tall creatures is a morally upright person. He is closer to the ideals of man and thus superior to Gulliver both physically and morally.
He rejects the proposal of Gulliver, a tiny creature before him, to teach him how to make gunpowder and use it against his enemies. He is reluctant to defeat his neighbouring princes and destroy them.
Munodi: He hosts Gulliver and shows him several places. Lord Munodi is from an extremely important family in Balnibarbi, in Laputa.
He is the most sensible and rational creature in the kingdom but he is denounced as the most ignorant and stupid person for his emphasis on practical side of knowledge. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
He falls from grace because of his practical approach to agriculture in Lagado where unproductive and unfruitful agricultural methods are encouraged.
Gulliver does not find one ear of corn or blade of grass in the entire city, but when he comes to Munodi’s estate, he sees meadows, vineyards and corn-grounds.
Yahoos: They resemble men, but they are despicable. They eat raw meat and fornicate. They stay naked, filthy and live like beasts.
They are tamed by Houyhnhnms. Yahoos repel Gulliver with their voracious sexual appetite, especially when a Yahoo girl pounces on him while he is bathing naked. Houyhnhnms consider Gulliver a Yahoo.
They are surprised to see a civilised Yahoo, but they cannot keep Gulliver on their island and ask him to leave. Yahoos are allegorical representations of men in the state of nature. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Reldresal: He is the Secretary of Private Affairs in Lilliput. He befriends Gulliver and explains to Gulliver the history of the political conflict between the two major factions in the realm: the High-Heels and the Low-Heels.
The conflict between the two factions is a fictional representation of the political factionalism between the Whigs and the Tories.
During the impeachment against Gulliver, Reldresal asks for a less severe punishment than death. It should be gouging out his eyes instead, he says.
Skyresh Bolgolam: He is the high admiral of Lilliput.
He is hostile towards Gulliver. He becomes envious when Gulliver captures the fleet of Blefescu. He favours capital punishment to Gulliver for his alleged crime.
Struldbruggs: They are immortal but they do not remain young forever. Eternity is a curse for them. The law of the Luggnagg says they become legally dead at eighty.
At that age, their marriage also stands dissolved and they can no longer hold property. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
They have difficulties communicating with the younger generation because language changes over a period of time. They do not celebrate immortality.
Q. 3. What is the “The Way of the World.” solution to the Hobbesian power struggle?
Ans. Based on John Locke’s philosophy, Congreve held the idea that society is replete with contentious issues, but it can be made endurable with the help of legal contracts and arrangements.
The Hobbesian power struggle is a given fact of human existence, but it can be tempered through contractual obligations that have to be adhered to for saving oneself from legal repercussions.
The Way of the World shows contracts that were made on the basis of expediency and monetary avarice do not sustain.
All the characters share a general understanding that material wealth is a prerequisite for a relatively happy and secure life and this can be contrasted with an aggressive pursuit of money solely motivated by avarice.
Mirabell stands out for retaining emotional depth and thoughtfulness.
The play’s attitude towards old age, if we refer to Lady Wishfort, is satirical.
Lady Wishfort is a character type with a long tradition in drama-the over-eager, man-seeking widow. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Her first offense, and that which initially makes her an object of ridicule, is the breach of taste, for she should know better. She is first described by Mirabell, who points out that her character is defined in the tag-name, Lady Wish-fort.
She is fifty-five years of age, an age that certainly seemed very old to the precocious and brilliant thirty-year-old whose play was being produced. She is also the character with most lines in the final acts of the play.
Her vanity is made clear from the first. She misinterpreted Mirabell’s flattery, which he describes in the first act. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
In the third act, the picture of Lady Wishfort at her toilette ridicules the woman who does not accept the fact of her age gracefully.
Her indecorous interest in men is a part of her character and important for the action. It is the reason she can misinterpret Mirabell and the reason Mirabell can hope that Waitwell’s wooing may be successful.
As a woman who controls considerable wealth, she is accustomed to having her own way; she is abrupt and tyrannical with her maid; she plans her ward’s marriage.
It is clear she does not like to be crossed and does not expect to be.
Congreve has probed this character further. Her vanity and man-chasing both have a common source; she lives in a world of fantasy.
She looks into mirrors constantly but does not see what everyone else sees. In her mind, she can still be a girl of sixteen or a beautiful young woman.
She is, therefore, especially susceptible to flattery, for there is no touch of good sense to help her see through it. Because of her susceptibility to flattery, her friends are always ill-chosen. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Everyone she trusts betrays her to a greater or lesser degree: apparently her closest friend is Mrs. Marwood; her daughter and ward are both prepared to go along with a plot that would trick her in a most humiliating way; her maid, Foible, on whom she depends, plays a major part in the plot. In her dilemma in the last act, she is bewildered and helpless.
The humorous character is not often shown in situations that display aspects of his character other than his humour. How- ever, Lady Wishfort as mother and guardian has a depth beyond the usual for her type.
As a mother, she did not always act wisely. Lady Wishfort, by the end of the play, has gained a certain measure of good will from the audience.
She is a complex creation, the butt of the author’s satire and actors’ ridicule, yet the object of some painful sympathy.
Q. 4. What meaning does the term “Age of Sensibility” convey to you?
Ans. The period in British literature between roughly 1740 and 1800 is called “the Age of Sensibility.” During this period, poets had fascination with the power of emotion over the human mind. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The poets and writers started giving importance to their sentiment instead of reason. They focus more on individuality and subjectivity.
This age is also known as the age of transition because the spirit of neo-classicism turned into a spirit of romanticism. The trend of neoclassical traveled to the trend of roman- tically.
This is known as the “Age of Transition”. During this age, we find a mixture in the test of literature. It has both neoclas- sical and romantic spirits.
It has feelings, emotions, imagination along with sense, realism, rationality, and logic, so that’s why it is also called the “Age of Sensibility”.
They focus on personal emotion and passion. The literary canon just before this period was dominated by Augustan epics, tragedies and decorum.
The lyric was then regarded as a minor kind while sentimental fictions – especially by women writers were mocked and debased.
The poets and writers of this period focused on the countryside instead of the cities. Their writing became more subjective. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Thomas Gray belongs to the pre-Romantic period. This period is also called the Age of Sensibility. The period tends towards ‘sensibility’ and the writers thought about as anticipating the style and sensibility of the Romantic era.
Writings of the latter mid-18th century poets shows distinct culture and socio-politically speaking.
For this reason the poetic styles of Samuel Johnson, Thomas Gray, William Collins, William Cowper, George Crabbe, Edward Young, Mark Akenside, or Oliver Goldsmith are different from those of John Dryden, Alexander Pope, John Gay and Jonathan Swift.
To change in the writings may be attributed to change in the public sphere that adversely affected the type of political patronage that had often supported many earlier writers. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Writers in early to mid-18th century were writing commissioned pieces. This changed after the death of the leading Whig minister, Robert Walpole in 1742.
This was a turning point for poetry that overtly reflected and commented on government and public matters. Poets of this later period drew away from topical subjects.
They stopped praising public figures and attacking politicians and government policies. Instead they focused on broader social, moral and even personal issues while using a deeper, more reflective tone in their poetry.
However, certain common cultural values were respected throughout the 18th century starting from the Restoration era writings of Dryden (post-1660) to Wordsworth and Coleridge. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The classics, or the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans,
profoundly influenced Restoration and 18th century poets. The writers and poets look back to the grace and beauty of classical writings. Thus, the 18th century is termed as the ‘Neo-classical’ age.
Thus, drama, poetry, prose and satire of the century shows the impact of this past tradition as well as the marks of a rising social and political restlessness generated by events in the contemporary public arena.
During the Age of Dryden (to 1700), the Age of Pope (to 1744) and the Age of Johnson (to 1784), the regularity of the heroic couplet was the predominant metre for poetry.
These poetic principles and practices saw gradual disintegration in the latter era of the poetry of sensibility and melancholy self-reflection.
By mid-century, when Gray, Johnson, Goldsmith, Thomas Warton, Shenstone, Christopher Smart, Collins, Cowper, and Crabbe wrote, a poetic shift from reverence towards a classicist tradition to emotional linkages with earlier English writers to develope a national identity. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Literature shifted from the metropolitan culture and political issues and searched for alternative space settings – the country- side and the periphery of England – Scotland, Wales, and Ireland – where a more authentic, original culture might be found.
Such an interest in older native forms of poetry led to the ballad collections of Thomas Percy and Robert Burns, along with a revival of the primitive past of a bardic tradition by Gray, James Macpherson, and Thomas Chatterton.
This interest is associated with a Gothic revival whereby the English medieval period rather than the Graeco-Roman classical era now became the favoured past for poets to revere.
The poets prefer more emotional tones and a romantic wildness being favoured, different from the elegance of the Augustan poets.
Q. 1. How does the novel foreground that cultural colonization and geographical conquering go hand in hand?
Ans. Despite being marooned on the desolate island, Crusoe does not sit worrying. He starts thinking how he can explore the place and use the available resources.
He does not waste the time and maps the area, learns about the flora and fauna and harnesses their productivity to his advantage.
He gains various skills to become self-sufficient with patience. He bears the suffering and reconfigures the island by imposing order on it as he deems fit and slowly and steadily it starts resembling a western establishment.
Crusoe often calls himself the king of the island. His interaction with Friday shows how he has culturally colonised Friday and made him an efficient partner cum slave in maintaining control over the geographical terrain of the island.
The novel maintains the two opposite parts – the “savage” and the “civilized”. For it the west implies reason, enlightenment, morality while the non-whites stand for barbarity, violence, immorality and lack of emotion.
For example, Crusoe harbours no guilt at the prospect of slaving expeditions. He actively takes part in them. He has the ambition of a colonialist. Friday and Xury are the opposite. They are the natives of colonies.
They lack Crusoe’s aspiration for more to conquer. The novel also provides us with moments, when these binaries are momentarily rendered unstable.
For example, on closely interacting with Friday, Crusoe realises that a lot of his stereotypical assumptions about him are proved false. The storyline however does not take these blurring of binaries to their logical conclusion.
This is apparent in the novel, Robinson Crusoe. The tools that Crusoe has from the ship carry out this notion, improving his life on the island dramatically.
He progresses quickly, and no longer feels as isolated as he did before on the island. Crusoe uses his tools to build a protective fence and a room inside a cave.
He then builds a farm where he raises goats and grows a corn crop. Later, his ambitions take him to the other side of the island where he builds a country home.
Also, with the weapons that Crusoe creates, he saves Friday from cannibals, and makes him his servant. Because of his tools, his supply becomes more than sufficient for survival. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
He comes to learn that if he works with his surroundings instead of wallowing in the fact that he has no longer got what he thinks he needs, he able to find and use everything he needs in order to carry out life.
Not only has he expanded both mentally and physically on the island, but in a way, Defoe also depicts Crusoe’s island as a microcosm of European society.
He colonizes the island by building houses. His successful development on the island parallels that of the British Empire around the eighteenth century.
He sells his fellow slave Xury to the Portuguese captain; he seizes the contents of two shipwrecked vessels and takes Friday as his servant immediately after meeting him.
Most extraordinarily, he views the island as “My own mere property” over which he has “an undoubted right of dominion.” Moreover, his building of properties determines his understanding of politics.
Q. 2. Write a critical summary of Gulliver’s Travels Book IV.
Ans. Gulliver’s Travels, Book IV exposes man’s faults and follies. When the Master Horse asked Gulliver about humans, Gulliver was cornered into disclosing the unflattering truths about his species. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
He was silent as to love, kindness, justice, and mercy that also abounded in human nature. For that was not Swift’s intent; it would be impossible and shocking to see mankind from the ethico-moral point of view of the Hounynyms.
Gulliver told the Master Horse that the men were “fellow of desperate fortunes, forced to fly from the places of their birth on account of their poverty or their crimes…drinking, whoring and gaming… treason…murder, theft, poisoning, robbery, perjury, forjury, coining false money…or deserting to the enemy.”
Gulliver talked about human beings’ “desire for power and riches of the terrible effects of lust, intemperance, malice and envy.”
Swift was showing not a goal, but a pattern for rational life. Gulliver went mad at last because he failed to realize that men could never be Houyhnhnms.
The horses lived in a simple level and had no knowledge of the evil, they were not actively choosing the good, but rather resigned themselves to the only behaviour available to them. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Gulliver talked about the various wars and revolutions and the cause of all the brutality that was happening in his country.
Gulliver said “poor nations are hungry, and the rich nations were proud; and pride and hunger will ever be at variance.”
Houyhnhnms were curious about the term ‘law’ and Gulliver told all the Europeans that Yahoos were slaves to a society of men and they needed proof that “white is black and black is white, according as they are paid.”
As Gulliver felt Houyhnhnms’ dislike for the Yahoos, he grew bitter against European customs. The wars were dreadful and the motivations for fighting, degrading: this was what Swift wished to show. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Gulliver viewed the evils of his society were at ease with an overflow of vicious brutality, ugly corruption, and unbridled perversions.
He shocked the ears of the Houyhnhnms. Horrified at Gulliver’s catalogue of depravity, the Master Horse concluded that mankind had used its power of reasoning to increase the ‘natural’ vices exhibited by the Yahoos.
The Country of the Houyhnhnms was an inversion of Gulliver’s England, a place where horses were civilized people, and humans were uncivi- lized animals.
Gulliver further elaborated on corruptions, such as class inequalities, intemperance, diseases and political hypoc- risy in England “in order to feed the luxury and intemperance of the males, and the vanity of the females.”
England exported large quantities of necessary things and imported the “materials of diseases, folly and vice for internal use.”
Furthermore, poor people were compelled to “seek their livelihood by begging, robbing, stealing, cheating, pimpling, forswearing, flattering, suborning, forging, gaming, lying, fawning, hectoring, voting, scribbling, star-gazing, poisoning, whoring, canting, libeling, free-thinking and occupations; a scenario present in Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” as well.
Swift was criticizing England for fostering vast inequalities of wealth, which resulted in the follies of luxurious living. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
On the other hand, Swift painted a vivid picture of the evils and diseases constantly plaguing mankind as a result of intem- perance.
He set these dreadful extremes before the Hounynyms’ fixed class system, which allowed no frustration among any of them striving.
By comparison, Gulliver related the disgraceful attitudes of a class system in which the ruling group was riddled by idleness and libertinism, greed and depravity.
Disgusted with effete nobility, Swift attacked them with enthusiasm, relished his chance to point to the absurdity of placing governmental responsibility in such impotent hands.
Swift’s criticism of the Chief Minister as backbiting about his enemy, Walpole, was instructively read as a portrait of corrupt political leader and as one of the most indignant rebuke that Swift ever delivered.
Gulliver had become so immersed in admiration for the Houyhnhnms that he accepted the Houyhnhnms’ judgement of mankind and resolved to remain there for his life-time with his loved tutors. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Gulliver was stricken with horror at his seduction by the female Yahoo; he was embarrassed and ashamed at his realization that he must be “A real Yahoo in every limb and feature.”
Gulliver retained his human pride and refused to see human reason, by nature, limited.
Raymond Bentman, in his essay, “Satiric Structure and Tone in the Conclusion of Gulliver’s Travels “stated that “humans were portrayed as wild animals because Gulliver thought of himself as so divorced from humanity he could make shoes and a canoe out of Yahoo skins and the Houyhnhnms seriously contemplated genocide.
They probably considered such ideas much too far from man’s known or expected behaviour to be taken for anything but satiric extravagance.”
Houyhnhnms were desirable and worthy of praise. Though, they could never sink to the depths of human misery and wretchedness, they never could soar to the human heights of joy and exaltation. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Swift’s instruction was to emulate the admirable behaviour of the Houyhnhnms while at the same time retaining the emotional warmth, spontaneity, and devotion of which human beings were uniquely capable.
It was part of Swift’s final irony that Gulliver mistook this instruction and went astray. This simplified a complex matter, still an issue of critical dispute among scholars.
There were many for whom Swift’s narrative voice was so convincing that they would not allow that he even believed in human joy and happiness and it was the ultimate purpose of the satirist to be constructive, yet would hold that Swift was too unrelenting in his condemnation of humanity to be no more than destructive.
Gulliver was very sensible of the great honor of being allowed to improve his mind by listening to the Houyhnhnms’ conversations “Where…the greatest decency was observed, without the least degree of ceremony; where no person spoke without being pleased himself, and pleasing his companions, where there was no interruptions, tediousness, heat, or difference of senti- ments.”
Gulliver raved on about the perfection of the Houyhnhnms’ life and the contentment of existence with such flawless mentors.
He was so dazed with admiration that he attempted to imitate their very walk, vocal pattern, and gesture. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Gulliver rejected one of Swift’s ‘ideal men’, Captain Pedro de Mendez because Gulliver now rejected all other human beings.
Gulliver’s trouble was his pride: at the beginning of his voyages, his pride prevented him from seeing the corruptions of his society; later, he was unable to trace the source of evil in man himself.
Now, he was still blinded by this same pride from recognizing the virtue in the kind and understanding Mendez.
Gulliver, in true sense, Swift, was doomed to disappointment though man’s greatest potential was fulfilled in striving for the good, he was utterly incapable of achieving the automaton-like virtue of the Houyhnhnms, “for who can read the virtue I have mentioned in the glorious Houyhnhnms without being ashamed of his own vices,
when he considers himself as reasonable, governing animal of his country?” Gulliver wanted to send a few civilized Europeans to the Houyhnhnms for teaching “the first principles of honor, justice truth, temperance, public spirit forti- tude, chastity, friendship, benevolence and fidelity.”
Gulliver did not approve of the European custom of discovering a new land, robbing, plundering and killing the natives, claiming the territory under divine right and colonizing the land with a “acts of inhumanity and lust… crew of butchers employed in…barbarous people.”
Although he acquitted England of such crimes, he felt that the countries he visited had no desire to be “conquered, enslaved, murdered or driven out by colonies,” and they did not abound in gold, silver, sugar, tobacco or any other goods of interest to Europe. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Swift gave an ironic twist by showing Gulliver still reluctantly inhabited his native land, still inveighing bitterly against the sin of pride, and still hopelessly unaware that he was as guilty as those he scorned.
Q. 3. Critically analyse the major themes in “The Way of the World”.
Ans. Property and wealth and retention of class privileges are the dominant themes in the play. Possession of property is a guiding factor to a physical well-being for the protagonists.
Mirabell and Millamant vow to commit themselves to each other to ensure a materially comfortable life for themselves post their wedding.
Class does play a role in the play. Lady Wishfort has a certain kind of power over Foible that the later cannot have in return.
The scandal of Wishfort and “Sir. Peter” is a class-based one. The opposition between the “town” of most of the characters and the “country” of the Sir Wilfull is also class-based. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
As Congreve writes it, Foible and Waitwell, servants to Lady Wishfort and Mirabell, seem delighted to be married against their will and participate in a romantic scheme at the beck and call of Mirabell.
This is perhaps not true to life, though it gives them both the ability to exert secretive power over members of the upper class.
Within the upper class, it is also demonstrated through jokes about one another that being well-educated and well-mannered is of utmost importance, and there can be social division atop economic based on these elements of etiquette and status.
Love and Marriage
Love and marriage are the main themes in The Way of the World. Characters have much more of a problem with the potential for a tainted reputation than with any moral or emotional imperative not to cheat on their spouse.
This begins in the first place with the problem that, though the primary marriage being arranged in the play seems to be based on love, many of the marriages set in place before the play, like Mrs. Fainall’s marriage to Fainall, were done more tactically as ways to ensure money and reputation.
A major conflict in the play too is who will have claim to Ms. Millamant’s inheritance, with Fainall attempting to leverage his wife’s apparent adultery to get claim to her, and Ms. Millamant’s, inheritance. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The Ideal Gentleman Post Glorious Revolution
Mirabell is an ideal gentleman. He is different from a quintessential Restoration rake notorious for his persuasive charm and breaking of female hearts.
He does not abandon his former mistress, Mrs. Fainall, without safeguarding her future prospects. Mirabell’s careful strategising and scheming leads to much of the action in the play.
He knows how to balance his personal aspirations and concern for others without retreating into villainy or becoming the typical sentimental hero.
His character is a contrast to Fainall who is a brazen fortune-hunter and represents aggressive sensuality and bitter cynicism.
Mirabell personifies all the virtues that were considered necessary to merit the tag of an ideal gentleman.
Mirabell has perfect control over his emotions and shows the quality of a hero in the post glorious revolution period.
The Subversion of Authority IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The Restoration period which saw political stability in the starting did not live up to its promise and encountered socio- cultural upheavals and dynastic uncertainty and chaos eventually culminating into the Glorious Revolution (1688) and establish- ment of the constitutional monarchy under William III and Mary II.
All these have impacted the society and the literature also. The Restoration comedies focuses on the crisis of patrician authority mirroring the changing politico-social landscape of En- gland.
Aristocratic parents continued to determine the marriage partners of their children based on political and economic alli- ances, but the vibrant young couple in the Restoration comedy mounted a strong opposition to them and generally worked out their own arrangement on the basis of romantic inclinations.
The Way of the World celebrates the youthful pursuits and romantic adventures of the energetic couple who rebel against patrician figures of authority for the sake of love. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
These tensions assume prominence throughout the play when Lady Wishfort’s position is challenged by Mirabell.
Wit and Wordplay
The witty language used in the Restoration drama was its most defining trait and it also mirrored contemporary society’s obsession with verbal sophistication.
In the universe of the play, the way in which a character deploys linguistic resources shows the presence or absence of wit. In the play, the verbal sophistication of Mirabell and Millamant makes them stand out.
For Congreve, the use of wit is a prerequisite of the Restoration drama. Mirabell and Millamant are the most witty and powerful in this way.
Marwood and Mr. Fainall are blunter, but the former is skilled in some level of parody. The fops Witwoud and Petulant represent a lack of real wit, as does Sir Wilfull in his own, “country bumpkin” way.
The play has characters having their schemes, intrigues and deceptions for their advantages. Millamant plays tricks on friends and relatives to claim her share of property. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Mirabell and his servants assist Millamant in gaining access to her wealth. Mirabell strategically arranges the marriage of Mrs. Fainall to Fainall to quell any scandalous rumours.
Money and romance are inextricably intertwined in the social scheme of the play. Most of the characters are more worried about reputation than with actual morality of the issue at hand.
Mirabell clearfully plans to embarrass makes Lady Wishfort by making her enter a mock marriage with his servant and then blackmailing her to release.
Comedy of Manners
Comedy of Manners is a social satire about the mannerisms of the beau monde. It includes stock characters like a country bumpkin who is unable to fit in the witty city social circles, fops and older women who are having a hard time reconciling with their ageing body, etc. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
This type of drama has interrelated themes of gender, sexuality and marriage. It shows dfifferent kinds of courtships as The Way of the World has the emotionally restrained romance of Millamant and Mirabell or the ridiculous courtship of Sir Rowland and Lady Wishfort.
Though often conservative in its closure, this type of dram presents a new model of marriage based on intellectual compatibility. The possibility of unsavoury marital alliances serves as trigger points of the plot.
The kind of discrepancy between the polished demeanour that people maintain with their public persona and their basic human appetite also, often evoke humour, for instance, Lady Wishfort’s malapropisms.
Social capitulations, romantic intrigues and cuckolding also constitute the plotline. This play is also shaped by social vicissitudes such as the economically vulnerable position of women and conflicts of desire and virtue shape the play.
The heroine of this genre never lets down her guard and wins over her lover with her calm self-possession. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The hero of this genre is notorious for his persuasive charm, witty repartees and resourcefulness. Mirabell embodies all these virtues along with all the social graces.
Q. 4. Discuss some critical assumptions about the epitaph of the Elegy.
Ans. Some critics hold the epitaph might have been written in the memory of Richard West who had died just prior to the writing of the Elegy.
Another, rather literal minded critical assumption made in the early part of the twentieth century, had given rise to what has been called the ‘stone-cutter poet’ controversy.
According to this idea Gray’s Epitaph could not be very well for himself and must be about an impersonal figure, perhaps the local village poet who had been engraving the ‘uncouth rhymes”, hence the critical reference to him as the ‘stone-cutter poet’.
Although a few early critics tended to see the Epitaph as an unnecessary addition, in so far as the poem is a personal elegy there is a positive, hopeful note on which an otherwise melancholy mood of the rest of the poem culminates.
Besides, the Epitaph offers Gray’s morally upright response to those ceremonious commemorative monuments like the ‘animated bust’ and the ‘sto- ried urn’, which had been rejected by him as being too ostentatious.
Another positive resonance that is struck is the fact that this Epitaph engraved on his imagined tombstone that the ‘hoary-headed swain points to, at least provides that memorial much on the mind of the poet, that which he had lamented as the lack of the neglected dead of the village. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The Epitaph, believed to have been appended later by Gray to the main Elegy, have been debated by critics. Some critics believe the poet refers to Richard West, who had died before Gray started writing this elegy, and he wrote the epitaph in his memory.
The poet wishes for himself only the heavenly bosom as the place where he seeks to be fully judged with God’s kindness and treated with mercy.
Besides, the Epitaph offers Gray’s morally upright response to those ceremonious commemorative monuments like the animated bust’ and the ‘storied urn’, which had been rejected by him as being too ostentatious.
Some critics tended to see the Epitaph as an unnecessary addition to the elegy.
Another positive resonance that is struck is the fact that this Epitaph engraved on his imagined tombstone that the ‘hoary- headed swain’ points to, at least provides that memorial much on the mind of the poet, that which he had lamented as the lack of the neglected dead of the village. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
The morbid taste and fashion of the contem-porary times seems to be played out in the poet imagining his own death, and moreover, writing his own epitaph.
The kind of pious resolution of the poet’s anxieties that the Epitaph seems to offer has been considered by some critics as being the gaining of a moral knowledge that leads to a quiet of mind, a kind of unselfish acceptance of God’s will.
Q. 5. Discuss the metaphors and personifications used in the Elegy.
Ans. “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” relies on an assortment of literary devices to depict the central themes of death and social status and create the contemplative tone of the poem.
The literary devices used throughout the poem are personification, alliteration, allusion, and metaphor. Rhetorical question, euphemism, synecdoche, and onomatopoeia are also used more subtly, but to great effect.
Personification IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Personification is used to add layers of conflict to the poem. The primary antagonist in the poem is Death, who is personified as being indifferent to human pain or flattery with the “dull cold ear of Death” (44).
Death is impersonal and uncaring, but other inanimate objects and abstract ideas are also personified throughout the poem.
This draws attention to other forces that are used to separate humans into categories of status in life.
Consider the personification of Ambition and Grandeur in lines 29-32:Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
Ambition and Grandeur are personified as forces that generally mock ordinary people. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
But the speaker wants to change the narrative and implies that the poor shouldn’t be derided just because they don’t have lives as flashy as those who are born into good social standings.
Just because ordinary people are homely and simple, it doesn’t mean their lives are any less valuable.
In fact, the speaker argues that other forces like Knowledge and Penury (or poverty) are responsible for the disadvantages that ordinary people face.
Common people are naturally positioned behind extraordinary people through no fault of their own: But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul (49-52).
He argues that instead of being lazy and lacking ambition, ordinary people started life at a disadvantage. IGNOU BEGC 108 Solved Free Assignment
Knowledge was unkind to them and purposefully kept them ignorant, and Penury repressed their ability to climb the ranks of status or live a happy, pleasant life.