Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.
A common feature of satire is strong irony or sarcasm—"in satire, irony is militant"—but parody, burlesque, exaggeration, juxtaposition, comparison, analogy, and double entendre are all frequently used in satirical speech and writing. This "militant" irony or sarcasm often professes to approve of (or at least accept as natural) the very things the satirist wishes to attack.
Satire is nowadays found in many artistic forms of expression, including literature, plays, commentary, and media such as lyrics.
The word satire comes from the Latin word satur and the subsequent phrase lanx satura. Satur meant "full," but the juxtaposition with lanx shifted the meaning to "miscellany or medley": the expression lanx satura literally means "a full dish of various kinds of fruits."
The word satura as used by Quintilian, however, was used to denote only Roman verse satire, a strict genre that imposed hexameter form, a narrower genre than what would be later intended as satire. Quintilian famously said that satura, that is a satire in hexameter verses, was a literary genre of wholly Roman origin (satura tota nostra est). He was aware of and commented on Greek satire, but at the time did not label it as such, although today the origin of satire is considered to be Aristophanes' Old Comedy. The first critic to use satire in the modern broader sense was Apuleius.
The derivation of satire from satura properly has nothing to do with the Greek mythological figure satyr. To Quintilian, the satire was a strict literary form, but the term soon escaped from the original narrow definition. Robert Elliott writes:As soon as a noun enters the domain of metaphor, as one modern scholar has pointed out, it clamours for extension; and satura (which had had no verbal, adverbial, or adjectival forms) was immediately broadened by appropriation from the Greek word for “satyr” (satyros) and its derivatives. The odd result is that the English “satire” comes from the Latin satura; but “satirize,” “satiric,” etc., are of Greek origin. By about the 4th century AD the writer of satires came to be known as satyricus; St. Jerome, for example, was called by one of his enemies 'a satirist in prose' ('satyricus scriptor in prosa'). Subsequent orthographic modifications obscured the Latin origin of the word satire: satura becomes satyra, and in England, by the 16th century, it was written 'satyre.'
Other articles related to "satire":
... made up by the mainstream weeklies Time and Life to attack the new style of comedy/satire that was affirming in the United States in the late 50s ... that were innovative in that context cynicism, social criticism and political satire ... Bruce, Mort Sahl (an author of political satire), Shelley Berman (considered by Bruce a mediocre comedian), Jonathan Winters, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, and Tom Lehrer ...
... Satire is occasionally prophetic the jokes precede actual events ... Among the eminent examples are The 1784 presaging of modern daylight saving time, later actually proposed in 1907 ...
... Menippean satire plays a special role in Mikhail Bakhtin's theory of the novel ... In Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Bakhtin treats Menippean satire as one of the classical "serio-comic" genres, alongside Socratic dialogue and other forms that Bakhtin claims are united by a ... or otherwise comment upon, ideas lies at the heart of Menippean satire." ...
... Satire 1.1, Qui fit, Maecenas ("How come, Maecenas"), targets avarice and greed ... Satire 1.2, Ambubaiarum collegia ("The trade unions of fluteplaying geishas"), deals with adultery and other unreasonable behaviour in sexual matters ... Satire 1.3, Omnibus hoc vitium est ("Everyone has this flaw"), demands fairness when we criticize other people’s flaws ...
Famous quotes containing the word satire:
“The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but littleor 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 (18151882)
“Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.”
—George Gordon Noel Byron (17881824)
“Ill publish, right or wrong:
Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.”
—George Gordon Noel Byron (17881824)