Satire In The 18th Century And In Modern Times

704 words - 3 pages

Ridiculous Idea vs. Humorous Laughter
The use of humor, exaggeration, irony or ridicule to expose, criticize or make fun people’s stupidity or vices. It is the dictionary definition of satire. The usage of juvenalian satire to criticize was openly and frequently done in the 18th century. Coming to the modern day, horatian satire is used to not only criticize but also make fun of modern times. What must be understood is that the usage of satire in both times was focused on society however; with each particular satire it focused on the different problems within it.

Bold, ridiculous, unheard of idea were not unknown in 18th century satire. The famous thinking outside the box was truly being done. The juvenalian satire was outrageous, taking Jonathan Swift for example in “The Modest Proposal”; he proposed to eat children to feed the hungry starving people of Ireland. This is such an absurd idea that it would have never been taken seriously. It was to criticize to ruling class and shine a different light on the situation. Overall it was meant to ask society for a change, they couldn’t keep living like they had and drastically measures had to be taken, Swift just wanted to bring that to their attention. Another “crazy idea” was that of a perfect world which society was trying to create. In this case Voltaire took satire to prove his point that such a world does not exist.

Candide is a satire about finding a perfect world. When the main character Candide through his travels finds this perfect world (utopia), it is to perfect and he can’t stay. The entire satire can have different meanings however focusing on society it is telling people that we need to change and not work to a perfect world as human being can’t live with that. In relation to Swift, Voltaire also criticizes society. The ideas of eating babies and finding utopia are both ridiculous, this of course would never happen in real life. What can be taken from both 18th century satires is that the function of satire in this century was...

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