It Was Ever Tush

There’s really no need to explain the story behind Hogarth’s Marriage à-la-mode as the Wikipedia page manages to do it admirably. It’s a depiction of a horrible marriage that goes very wrong, intended to show that the upper classes are not that much higher when it comes to morals. Wikipedia even speculates that Hogarth aborted the follow-up for this series, which would have depicted a happy marriage, because happy marriages make for boring material. And that’s the strange thing about satire of this kind. Why is it more interesting to see the foul greed of those who are unworthy of their wealth exposed and laid bare in front of everybody? There is of course the pleasant comedy of seeing bad things happening to bad people, but nobody benefits from it in this particular story. There are no good souls first wronged and then repaid. It is like Dante’s Inferno without the realms of light that complete his journey. Our judgment is suspended into a gleeful and maybe even sinister schadenfreude, a filthy sentiment all by itself. It is a tabloidy sort of base fulfillment provided one’s character is such that it gravitates toward that which is base. In other words, it tests the character. What do you see?

Source: Wikipedia

1. The Marriage Settlement

Source: Wikipedia

2. The Téte à Téte

Source: Wikipedia

3. The Inspection

Source: Wikipedia

4. The Toilette

Source: Wikipedia

5. The Bagnio

Source: Wikipedia

6. The Lady’s Death

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