Posted by: sabinabw | October 19, 2010

The Darwinian Theory?

Looking at all images again after last week’s discussion, along with the readings describing why the artists chose to display the men with ape/monkey features made me question about the Darwinian theory and how humans evolved from apes/monkeys.  During this time period, I am assuming to believe that many people were still very religious so being associated with a monkey was offensive because it indicated you were not descended from God, but rather a primate.  So it makes me wonder if the artists specifically chose to demonstrate the men with the negative monkey appearance because of this theory?  Did it add more to the insult of the person being shown?  Or was it simply because it made the individual look more beast like for the political satire and absolutely nothing to do with religion and the Darwin Theory?


Responses

  1. Sabina,
    Since these cartoons were published after Darwin’s _Origin of Species_, they definitely seem to be drawing on his evolutionary theory. In fact you could say that they represent early examples of Darwinian racism. By simianizing Irish anti-colonial rebels, they suggest that those who participate in insurgency, and perhaps the Irish in general, are lower on the evolutionary scale, even a sort of transitory being between human and primate.

  2. Its a way of justifying colonialism as by showing them as half-human and half-animal it’s suggests that they’re lower on the evolutionary scale and consequently can be tamed like other creatures.


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