ENGL 311 Who expresses the stronger wit here about the virtues and vices of the opposite sex: the men or the women? Who has the upper hand in this debate: the males or the females?

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Week 4, Discussion 1: Satire versus Wit: The Dueling Quills

For your response, choose one of the poems and offer it as the strongest answer—and explain why. In your response, you will certainly have to discuss the ideas, but also look at how the ideas are expressed. Importantly, you will want to distinguish the use of satire and how that is achieved through the language itself. To round out your discussion, you will also have to bring in discussions of at least one other of the poems. For example, it is very difficult to discuss Montagu’s poem without referring to Swift’s.

You can get very specific here. When we read Pope, for example, we have to acknowledge his mastery over the heroic couplet and expression in iambic pentameter. No one, not even Dryden, comes close to his control of the “round numbers.” If the other poets do not match up to Pope’s poetic control, does it lessen the effectiveness of their satire? Why or why not?

Your discussion does not have to be limited to these questions; please raise your own–as long as you provide us with the answers! Please make sure that your responses include direct references to the poem and that you are providing correct in-text references to the line number(s) of the poem.


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