William Hogarth, The Four Stages of Cruelty

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The Four Stages of Cruelty

is another of Hogarth's narrative comic history cycles, taking for its subject matter, this time, the wanton cruelty to animals and humans, which Hogarth saw all about him in mid-eighteenth century London. It follows the ‘progress' of a young man, Tom Nero, who takes delight in various forms of extreme cruelty and ends up the victim of his own example. Hogarth tells us in his

Autobiographical Notes

, compiled about 1763, a dozen or so years after the publication of

The Four Stages of Cruelty

in February 1750/51, that:

The four stages of cruelty were done in hope of preventing in some degree that cruel treatment of poor animals which makes the streets of London more disagreeable to the human mind than anything what ever, the very describing of which gives

2105 words

Citation: Gordon, Ian. "The Four Stages of Cruelty". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 November 2003 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=807, accessed 21 May 2024.]

807 The Four Stages of Cruelty 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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