A Definition of Satire
“The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but little — or it will seem that his satire springs rather from his own caustic nature than from the sins of the world in which he lives.”—-Anthony Trollope
What is satire? Satire is a literary device that is used to mock or ridicule vice, folly, or stupidity. This ridicule or scorn is directed at an individual, social group, institution, or society. Satire is often witty, ironic, or exaggerated. Most satire is intended to be humorous, designed to evoke amusement or laughter from the reader or audience. Sometimes, though, the writer uses satire as invective.
Satire has a purpose. The writer’s intention is often to 1) bring the vice or folly or failing into public view and 2) motivate or inspire change or reform. This is especially true for political and social satire, where the satire is intended to be a social or political criticism. In its extreme, the writer employs satire to make vice or folly reprehensible.
Satire is popular in many aspects of our pop culture. Writers use it to craft poems, novels, plays, sitcoms, and scripts for films. Satire is also a genre. For instance, the popular sitcom “The Simpson’s” is a satire of contemporary society and family. Many sketch comedies on Saturday Night Live use satire to get laughs from the audience. The film “The Great Dictator” starring Charlie Chaplin is a satire on Adolph Hitler. Stanley Kubrick’s film “Dr. Strangelove” is a satire on the absurdity of nuclear war.
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Next, I will write about the different types of satire.