The elements of satire
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The Elements of Satire. Satire should, like a polished razor keen, Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen. -Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Comes from the latin word satura , meaning “dish of mixed ingredients”.

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The Elements of Satire

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The elements of satire

The Elements of Satire

Satire should, like a polished razor keen, Wound with a touch that's scarcely felt or seen.

-Lady Mary Wortley Montagu


What is satire

  • Comes from the latin word satura, meaning “dish of mixed ingredients”.

  • A technique in which a writer ridicules or criticizes a person, group, institution or event using certain literary devices.

  • Usually witty.

  • Almost always sarcastic or ironic.

  • Usually has a tone of “mock-approval” – sarcastically supporting the very thing it is criticizing.

    How does the definition of satire relate to its latin root?

What is satire?


Forms of satire

  • Drama (Tartuffe – Moliere, The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde )

  • Journalism (The Onion)

  • Fiction (A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift, The Lowest Animal – Mark Twain)

  • Poetry (The Rape of the Locke – Alexander Pope)

  • Graphic Arts (editorial cartoons)

  • Television programs (Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report)

  • Music (With God on Our Side – Bob Dylan, Weird Al)

Forms of Satire


Examples of satire in pop culture

  • Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update

  • The Daily Show

  • Scary Movie

  • Austin Powers

  • Political cartoons

  • This is Spinal Tap

  • Songs by Weird Al Yankovich (White and Nerdy)

  • The Simpsons

Examples of Satire in Pop Culture


Satirical techniques

  • Sarcasm

  • Irony

  • Parody

  • Burlesque

  • Elevated word choice

  • Puns

  • Hyperbole/exaggeration

Satirical Techniques


Methods of satire

  • Pun: play on words

  • Hyperbole: overstatement often used to show how ridiculous a situation is.

  • Burlesque is an imitation of a person or subject by exaggeration or distortion.

    • a frivolous subject may be treated with mock dignity

    • a weighty subject might be handled in a trivial style

    • character who should use formal, intelligent language speaks like a fool or a character who is portrayed as uneducated uses highly sophisticated, intelligent language. Ex: Princess Bride – “Marriage, marriage”, giant who rhymes

  • Parody mocks not a person or subject, but a specific literary work or style, by imitating features and applying them to trivial or incongruous materials. Weird Al song, Beat it ---Eat it.

Methods of Satire


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