When Satire Breathes In Words


Defining satire using the perfect words is a difficult task, but sensing the notion of satire in the author’s work is an enjoyable experience.

There is no specific set of literary form that only has the authority to unveil satire. It is visible in both prose and poetry. It can be in the shape of a ballad, an elegy or an ode. Also, a novel can unfold a  satire in the form of a story, and readers sometimes remember the story only as popular content forgetting the satirical basis, which has made the piece popular.

Gulliver’s Travels of Jonathan Swift is one real example of such a trend. Also, there are some famous plays portraying satires while depicting contemporary follies. These plays remain fresh forever in the minds of the readers sometimes as a prominent instance of humor. Some others identify these works as the most attractive creations by the dramatists only for enjoyment and they don’t identify the hidden mockery in the words of these plays.

Satire in the form of writing become classical masterpieces

In the Greek and Latin literature satire was treated as classical masterpieces in the form of writing.The works of Persius, Juvenal, and Horace emerged as true masterpieces. Their writings were imitated several times throughout Europe during the Renaissance period and that period too.

It is undeniable that these Roman poets set the introductory platform for the Augustan and the Elizabethan satire in England.

A lot of modern people with so-called polished characteristics usually call satire as an “unpolished verse”. However, this “unpolished verse” is an important characteristic of the English literature, and in true words, this verse can be defined as an enjoyable literary composition that mainly aims to ridicule the follies or the vices.

It can also be defined as a true composition of words that bring good humor in readers even when it appears most caustic. According to John Dryden, the eminent literary critic, “the true end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction”.

Expressing satires in the adequate terms is a hard nut to crack but a sense of amusement, excitement or even disgust originated from a ridiculous form of humor is distinctly recognizable in it. The important thing is all these features can be visible in the utterance of words that are associated with a unique literary form. The truth is satire becomes invective or abusive without humor and without a literary form, it is nothing but only jeering.

Literary satire is a blend of criticism and humor

Literary satire means combining criticism with the humor. An eminent satirist is a keen observer with an eye, especially for the ludicrous. His creation is a manifestation of art that involves an intellectual exercise that addresses more reality than imagination.

A satirical temperament is a unification of a humorist with his hidden or visible potentiality of criticism. When humor stirs critical faculty, then the artist has to pass beyond the mockery to reveal the acceptance of inadequacies in humans.

Jonathan Swift’s immortal works are the best examples that reveal the said inadequacies. These works show that Swift was strongly fascinated by the barbarity and stupidity of humans. His words uncover his bitter mockery towards human subservience.

Swift criticized mankind when he wrote “the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.” There is no denying that as a satirist Swift discovers the truth in his own way.

A thin line exists between a humorist and a satirist   

For so many years, people are trying hard to discover the thin line of difference between a humorist and a satirist. However, they stand with confusion when they read words of a satirist or a humorist. It is because a lot of writers choose to penetrate through varying degrees of human follies and humor unveiled a mixed satirical spirit.

The novels of Jane Austen and Hardy are the best instances of this trend. Their works never portray direct satire. On the other hand, the creations of Byron uncover direct satires. And that is why Byron’s satirical spirit largely disappeared with the growing time. That means satire breathes in words when there is a fusion of humor and the satirical spirit.               

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