A Modest Proposal

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A Modest Proposal Characters

The Proposer

The unnamed speaker in A Modest Proposal is not Jonathan Swift himself, though at first he may appear to be. Rather, he is an exaggerated persona meant to represent a class of people whom Swift… (read full character analysis)

George Psalmanazar

Psalmanazar is, in fact, a historical figure. He was a French literary imposter who claimed to be a native of Taiwan (then called “Formosa”) and wrote a made-up account of his travels. By the time… (read full character analysis)

The Pretender

The Pretender, mentioned twice, is James Francis Edward Stuart, the son of the recently deposed King James II. (King James II was replaced as the leader of England by William III and Mary II in… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
The American
This mysterious character is mentioned only briefly. A friend of the Proposer’s, he is the first to suggest to him that the flesh of infants is edible and, in fact, delicious.
A Very Worthy Person
This is another friend of the Proposer’s. This “worthy person” suggests that the lean flesh of teenagers may be a fitting substitute for venison (deer meat), which has lately become scarce in Ireland.