Satire is a great tool used by many writers and actors since ancient times. The earliest example that we know about is a script from 2nd millennium BC in Ancient Egypt (Definition: Satire) and since then has evolved into a great part of our society. Satire is used to point out the faults of human vice in order for change and reform in either of two ways. There is a very bitter Juvenalian or a mild and light Horatian. In order to fully understand these forms of satire, method, purpose, and applications will be addressed.
The best ways to present satire is either through incongruity, parody, reversals, or exaggeration. When a writer presents incongruity, there are elements that are out of place, and they shouldn’t be there. This not only brings the attention on that item/idea but also shows how ridiculous it really is. This feeling is what inspires the change and without it, satire would not have been accomplished. If parody is used, the target of the satire is imitated in some absurd way. Some examples will do this with the object’s style; others will imitate techniques that make the audience realize how crazy and outrageous they really are. Once again this is the reason why it works, because it inspires the change in the target of the satire. Third, if reversals are used, the normal order of things is presented opposite of what they should be. This can be accomplished in roles, order of events, or even hierarchical order. This brings the attention on it specifically and shows absurdity, also inspiring change. The last method is exaggeration, where aspects are enlarged beyond reality in order to show its faults. This makes the audience dwell on the problems, and therefore what is needed to change it.
As already mentioned, the satire needs to inspire change, for if it doesn’t, it has failed. Only there is one huge benefit using satire as opposed to other methods of change, satire acts somewhat as a filter, where the audience can only see others and not themselves (Nordquist). For this reason, satire offends very few people, but still inspires that important change. Whatever form satire takes is how this will be accomplished. If it is Juvenalian, it is done with indignation and harshness. This tone is somewhat dark and makes inspires change though a form of resentment. This is usually more successful than the other because anger causes action. The other form is Horatian, and is the amused and witty form of satire. It is presented as mockery, but never to insult or offend anyone. This is just to show the faults of something and make people realize why they are wrong. Both encourage change, and both are important.
Arguably, one of the most successful Juvenalian satires ever written is “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift. Swift satirizes many things in the essay, with the most prevalent being the way that England treats Ireland. Many of the inhabitants living there were poverty stricken and starving to death. Swift then...