Types of Satire Examples

Types of Satire

Satire is using humor, exaggeration, and/or irony to expose human vices or foolishness. In the simplest of terms, it is using humor to make fun of a very serious subject in order to point out human foolishness.

Satire is often used to point out foolishness in the political arena, or in relation to government policy.

There are two types of satire:

Horatian satire is more witty and tolerant.

  • Named after the Roman satirist Horace

  • Gently criticizes human nature and human folly

Juvenalian satire is more angry and personal, attempting to produce anger in the reader.

  • Named after Roman satirist Juvenal

  • Attacks human vice-indignant
Examples of Types of Satire:

Famous Examples of Horatian and Juvenalian Satire

Jonathan Swift is an Irish satirist, and two of his more famous works show the difference between Horatian and Juvenalian Satire.

Gulliver's Travels is an example of Horatian satire. Gulliver takes four different voyages and encounters four strange lands. In each, Swift is attempting to satirize some aspect of English society. For example, when Gulliver is in Lilliput, he learns that people are appointed to office based on their ability to walk a tightrope. He is satirizing the way that the English nobility of his day chose based on bloodlines and connection to the court.

"A Modest Proposal" is Swift's example of Juvenalian satire. This is a much more outraged and personal piece of satire, where Swift proposes an outlandish solution for England to deal with the "Irish problem"-cannibalism.

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