In the reading about William Hogarth, it expressed that may of his works dealt with issues in society and used satire to comment on certain public figures and stereotypes. For instance one of his series of engravings titled, ‘A Harlot’s Progress’, remarks on the public opinion and stereotype of prostitutes, clergy, and public officials in the 1700s. Hogarth’s series depicts the deterioration of Moll Hackabout, a fictitious stereotypical prostitute, who starts out as young and desirable, then slowly with every customer, grows old and ragged, cast out by the very men who made her popular and the prostitute she used to be, until eventually she dies of their diseases. Hogarth using satire and irony created a grotesque series that criticized society in its corruption and sins, and not only chastised but evoked pity for Moll in that society adores the fall of a popular public figure.
Although this series was created in the 1700s, the motifs that encircle the very series- over-sexuality, morality, publicity of public figures and their downfall - still plague today, perhaps even more so. A modern example of the Molly Hackabout story would be that of Anna Nicole Smith. Though Anna Nicole Smith wasn’t a fictitious character, her story does resemble that of the fictitious character.
Anna Nicole’s career started out like that of Molly Hackabout, she was pulled into the modeling world and soon began posing for ‘Playboy’ magazine. Although she didn’t physically sell herself, she sold the image of herself in an over-sexualized way that made her popular and into a symbol of sex and beauty. Then soon after the very public and industry that built her up with attention and adoration turned on Anna as she started to lose her image and appeal as well as having questionable morality. Like the public punished Moll, Anna was scrutinized and punished by the paparazzi and the rest of the media. Then later she became addicted to pain pills which were probably influenced by her constant scrutiny from the media, which she later died from. With death came pity, yet still there was controversy, like Moll, in that her ‘bastard’ child was now in the middle over a huge paternity battle between three men.
Both women met their demise in the environment that created them and shared the same misfortunes of using sexuality to make a living, then being punished by hypocritical society, and eventually pitied in death.