Hogarth - 1 Sara Beg H U M 2230 Section 03 Marriage a la...

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1 Sara Beg HUM 2230 Section 03 “Marriage a la Mode” is one of Hogarth’s best-recognized satires from the Neoclassical period; openly, it pokes fun at the middle class and the aristocracy, particularly when it comes to matters of marriage. Although both audiences would take note of the same details, their interpretations of them would be quite different: the middle class would be more likely to interpret “Marriage a la Mode” to be poking fun only at the aristocracy, while viewing themselves in a more optimistic light; the aristocracy, however, might interpret the satire as showing a dark side of the upper middle class while portraying the benefits of their own social status. The first thing any viewer, aristocrat or middle class, would notice is how the future couple obviously has no interest in their own impending marriage or each other. They sit facing away from one another, with young Squanderfield “vainly [gazing] at himself in a mirror, while his bride-to-be idly dangles her betrothal ring on a kerchief” (Fiero 130). The two dogs at young Squanderfield’s feet symbolize the young couple’s relationship: bonded together by a leash, in this case a metaphorical leash of obedience to their parents, and forced to stay together despite their obvious disinterest in each other. First of all, the middle class would see how the aristocracy is being mocked, but would fail to see how they are similarly being made fun of. They would laugh at Squanderfield’s pride at how his family tree literally “springs from the loins of William the Conqueror,” especially seeing how Squanderfield himself cannot even conquer his gout, hence the bandaged foot resting on a cushioned stool (Fiero 130). Although Squanderfield would obviously like to believe that he is as great as his ancestor, the reality that the \ middle class can see is that he is not only weak but helpless: to regain financial stability, he must get his son married to the daughter of the wealthy
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2 Sara Beg HUM 2230 Section 03 merchant. After all, part of this man’s name is the word “squander,” a word meaning “to spend
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This note was uploaded on 09/05/2011 for the course HUM 2230 taught by Professor Jordan during the Spring '08 term at University of Central Florida.

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Hogarth - 1 Sara Beg H U M 2230 Section 03 Marriage a la...

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