Literary Term Satire

Literary Term Satire

Satire is a literary attack on a person’s and society’s fault to correct them by using humour, irony and ridicule. It’s a powerful tool for authors to challenge societal norms, politics, or human behaviour. Satire aims to bring change.

In “Gulliver’s Travels,” writers like Jonathan Swift used satire to comment on politics and human nature. Voltaire’s “Candide” mocked optimism and societal norms of the time. More recently, authors like George Orwell (“Animal Farm,” “1984”) and Kurt Vonnegut (“Slaughterhouse-Five”) have used satire to address political and social issues.

Characteristics of Satire: Satire in literature is a sharp and often humorous form of criticism that uses wit, irony, ridicule, or exaggeration to expose and criticize societal vices, shortcomings, or injustices. Here are some key characteristics:

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  1. Exaggeration: Satire often uses hyperbole or exaggeration to emphasize flaws or issues in society. This makes them more noticeable and highlights their absurdity.
  2. Irony and Sarcasm: Satirical works employ irony and sarcasm to mock or deride individuals, institutions, or societal norms. This often involves saying the opposite of what is meant or using a tone that suggests the opposite of the literal meaning.
  3. Humour: Satire is inherently comedic, using humour to entertain and make a serious point. The humour can range from subtle wit to outright farce.
  4. Social commentary: Satire targets various aspects of society, including politics, religion, social norms, and human behaviour. It aims to produce thought and reflection on these subjects.

Read More: Literary Term Melodrama

  1. Criticize and Ridicule: Satire doesn’t hold back; it openly criticizes and ridicules its targets. Through mockery, it aims to bring attention to flaws or hypocrisy.
  2. Intent to Reform or Change: While satire is critical, its ultimate goal is often to prompt change or improvement in society by highlighting its faults and absurdities.
  3. Use of Absurdity: Satirical works use present situations that are extreme or absurd to make a point about reality.
  4. Masked or indirect criticism: Satire sometimes uses allegory, fictional settings, or characters that are not directly tied to real-life figures to criticize and avoid confrontation or censorship.
Riya Akter
Riya Akter
Hey, This is Riya Akter Setu, B.A (Hons) & M.A in English from National University.


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