Satire is used in creative writing to mock or criticize someone or something. It is the use of satire, humour, irony, or ridicule in an exaggerated amount. In this creative writing lesson, we will learn all about satire.
This is a literary source that has been derived from human nature. It brings the mockery which an author does in his drama or novel, short story, and so on with a purpose of transformation. It has now evolved to become a complete genre in literary works. This genus was believed to have been handed down in literature from Ancient Greece. According to the specialists of satire, the root lies in the lambic poetry from the 7th century BC.
The word satire was derived from the Latin term “Satur”. Satire is often interconnected with other literary devices like irony, malapropism, understatement, overstatement, juxtaposition and parody. It is considered to be quite a different piece of literature. Although satire is considered to bring out laughter when used in literature there are dark satires. It is unfunny.
A satire is characterised through some points that are
- It had its birth in ancient Greece.
- It makes fun of an individual or some object
- The imperfections of individuals and objects are criticized and made fun of.
- Includes use of parody, comedy, humour, and so on.
- It has morality as a background.
- It compares two opposite ideas which are in the form of juxtaposition. Holds the right in high value and disregards the wrong.
- Use of hyperbole.
- It devalues and shows imperfections.
Types Of Satire in Creative Writing
Satire in English literature has been categorized primarily into two main types. They are known as the Horatian satire and the Juvenalian satire. These forms of satires were taken from Horace and Juvenal. The third type is the less common type known as Menippean satire and was named after the satirist and Greek cynic Menippus. These were Classical satirists on whose basis modern satirists have made their satires.
This is a form of comic satire which was not for social transformation. It finds the common faults in humans and makes fun of such characters. They entertain readers by giving insight and comparison with the human behaviour of the characters of literature and the readers. A common example of Horatian satire is Alexander Pope’s poem The Rape of the Lock.
In this form of satire, comedy is not used. It uses dark tragedy in satire. Juvenalian satire uses irony to bring out the immoral and wrongdoings of public figures as well as institutions. It uses more hostility towards literature as compared to Juvenalian satire. It is more focused on the gross malpractices of political institutions. A common example of Juvenalian satire is Animal Farm by George Orwell which shows the incompetency of the communist government in bringing equality in economies.
This is the oldest type of satire. But it was rarely used in literature. It tends to satirize various common views of the world and does not target a particular individual or group. There is a commonality between the Horatian satire and Menippean satire. Both of them tends not to target a group of people but the ideas and immoralities of people’s stupidity or the society as a whole. Menippean satire uses tougher satirical languages.
Importance of Satire in Literature
Satire is used in literature from ancient times. Greek literature used a lot of satires from old times. Satires in literature have been useful to change the conventions and drawbacks of western societies to a large extent. In western culture, satire was used to antagonize the cultural traditions which took the form of malpractices.
Satire is one of the most necessary elements in a society which was made a part of literature. They expose the wrongdoings of society at large. It is the satirists who point out when society is deviating from the path of morality. This sometimes is done in the form of fun or dark tragedy.
Examples of Satire in Creative Writing
- The earliest Greek writer Aristophanes was one of the greatest satirists. He satirized politicians, religious figures, philosophers, and, so on. He used irony and humour in his writings. In his famous writing, The Clouds he criticized Socrates so much so it resulted in his execution.
- George Orwell writing “Animal Farm” is marvellous writing of dark tragedy which criticized Soviet Communism. It is also a criticism of the Russian Revolution. It has deviated from the actual communism which is criticized by the author in his writings.
- Gulliver’s Travels is one of the most important writings of satire by Jonathan Swift. It is a satire on the basic nature of human behaviour.
- The early works of literature like that of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales were also a work of satire. It criticizes the aspects of church and its malpractices.
- Shakespeare uses comedy and satires in various of his works. He also uses satires in his sonnets.
- Bernard Shaws’ Arms and the Man is also a satire about the ideas of love, war, and so on. It shows satire whereby the ideals are made fun of by the author.
Satire is now a part of pop culture, television shows, and also in the form of political cartoons and so on. Satire forms a very significant part of literature. It tends to attract attention towards the issues of society that would otherwise remain overlooked. It also advocates social reforms. Satire brings out and tries to eliminate the unnecessary cultures and conventions of society. We can say that satire is not only important in literature, it is a very essential part of society.