What is satire definition and meaning?


What is Satire

What does satire mean? Satire is a sharp critique of something – individuals, human groups or society – with ridiculous or even mean condemnation of flaws. Satire mock negative sides of human soul, social and political life, established ideals. This literary device has Roman roots.

Satire is used in various literary genres – poetry, prose, drama.

What is the purpose of satire? Sometimes people do not pay attention to their vices. The laugh is a perfect mean to rub the nose into the negative sides of society. Sometimes only in such a way person can notice his or her pathetic behaviour and foolishness.

Also satire in literature is intended to ‘color’ the language and interest the reader. Furthermore, after reading a satirical book reader should do some soul-searching.

What is used to reveal the meaning of satire?

  1. irony
  2. exaggeration
  3. humor
  4. criticism

Satire examples in literature

“What’s the use you learning to do right, when it’s troublesome to do right and isn’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

“There wasn’t anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there wasn’t any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summer-time because it’s cool. If you notice, most folks don’t go to church only when they’ve got to; but a hog is different.”

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

If you’ve read Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, you must remember the proposition eat children in order to deal with overcrowding in London during the Industrial Revolution – other example of satire.

What are the types of satire in literature?

As satire is wide-used, there is not one type of it but several.

Horatian satire

Among all the types of satire, this one is the most ‘kind’. Horatian satire is even considered to be a type of parody by some scientists. Nevertheless, with the help of Horatian satire the writer ridicule human vices in a soft, not rude way.

Horatian satire example:

Horatian satire example

Juvenalian satire

This type is considered to be the most vicious one. As usual, Juvenalian satire is used while describing political life and politicians’ greed and avidity.

Juvenalian satire example:

Juvenalian satire example

How to define satire in a sentence?

Usually satire covers the entire literary work and only occasionally its individual passages or scenes.

How to define satire in a sentence

What is satire definition and meaning video

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