A 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, television shows, and media such as lyrics.
Satirical literature can commonly be categorized as either Horatian, Juvenalian, or Menippen.
Horatian satire, named for the Roman satirist Horace (65–8 BCE), playfully criticizes some social vice through gentle, mild, and light-hearted humour. Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) wrote Satires to gently ridicule the dominant opinions and "philosophical beliefs of ancient
It directs wit, exaggeration, and self-deprecating humour toward what it identifies as folly, rather than evil. Horatian satire's sympathetic tone is common in modern society.
A Horatian satirist's goal is to heal the situation with smiles, rather than by anger. Horatian satire is a gentle reminder to take life less seriously and evokes a wry smile. A Horatian satirist makes fun of general human folly rather than engaging in specific or personal attacks. Shamekia Thomas suggests, "In a work using Horatian satire, readers often laugh at the characters in the story who are the subject of mockery as well as themselves and society for behaving in those ways." Alexander Pope has been established as an author whose satire "heals with morals what it hurts with wit" (Green). Alexander Pope—and Horatian satire—attempt to teach.
- The Ig Nobel Prizes.
- Bierce, Ambrose, The Devil's Dictionary .
- Defoe, Daniel, The True-Born Englishman .
- The Savoy Operas of Gilbert and Sullivan.
- Gogol, Nikolai, Dead Souls .
- Groening, Matthew ‘Matt’, The Simpsons .
- Lewis, Clive Staples, The Screwtape Letters .
- Mercer, Richard ‘Rick’, The Rick Mercer Report .
- Pope, Alexander, The Rape of the Lock .
- Reiner, Rob, This Is Spinal Tap .
- Twain, Mark, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn .
Juvenalian satire, named for the writings of the Roman satirist Juvenal (late first century – early second century AD), is more contemptuous and abrasive than the Horatian. Juvenal disagreed with the opinions of the public figures and institutions of the Republic and actively attacked them through his literature. "He utilized the satirical tools of exaggeration and parody to make his targets appear monstrous and incompetent" (Podzemny). Juvenal satire follows this same pattern of abrasively ridiculing societal structures. Juvenal also, unlike Horace, attacked public officials and governmental organizations through his satires, regarding their opinions not just as wrong, but as evil.
Following in this tradition, Juvenalian satire addresses perceived social evil through scorn, outrage, and savage ridicule. This form is often pessimistic, characterized by the use of irony, sarcasm, moral indignation and personal invective, with less emphasis on humor. Strongly polarized political satire can often be classified as Juvenalian.
A Juvenal satirist's goal is generally to provoke some sort of political or societal change because he sees his opponent or object as evil or harmful. A Juvenal satirist mocks "societal structure, power, and civilization" (Thomas) by exaggerating the words or position of his opponent in order to jeopardize their opponent's reputation and/or power. Jonathan Swift has been established as an author who "borrowed heavily from Juvenal's techniques in [his critique] of contemporary English society" (Podzemny).
- Barnes, Julian, England, England .
- Bradbury, Ray, Fahrenheit 451 .
- Brooker, Charlie, Black Mirror .
- Bulgakov, Mikhail, Heart of a Dog .
- Burgess, Anthony, A Clockwork Orange .
- Burroughs, William, Naked Lunch .
- Cooke, Ebenezer, The Sot-Weed Factor; or, A Voyage to Maryland,—a satire, in which is described the laws, government, courts, and constitutions of the country, and also the buildings, feasts, frolics, entertainments, and drunken humors of the inhabitants in that part of America .
- Ellis, Bret Easton, American Psycho .
- Golding, William, Lord of the Flies .
- Hall, Joseph, Virgidemiarum .
- Heller, Joseph, Catch-22 .
- Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World .
- Johnson, Samuel, London , an adaptation of Juvenal, Third Satire .
- Kubrick, Stanley, Dr. Strangelove .
- Mencken, HL, Libido for the Ugly .
- Morris, Chris, Brass Eye .
- [television show], The Day Today .
- Orwell, George, Nineteen Eighty-Four .
- Orwell, George, Animal Farm .
- Swift, Jonathan, A Modest Proposal .
- Zamyatin, Yevgeny, We .
- Voltaire, Candide .
The genre of Menippean satire is a form of satire, usually in prose, which has a length and structure similar to a novel and is characterized by attacking mental attitudes rather than specific individuals or entities. Other features found in Menippean satire are different forms of parody and mythological burlesque, a critique of the myths inherited from traditional culture, a rhapsodic nature, a fragmented narrative, the combination of many different targets, and the rapid moving between styles and points of view.
The term is used by classical grammarians and by philologists mostly to refer to satires in prose (cf. the verse Satires of Juvenal and his imitators). Typical mental attitudes attacked and ridiculed by Menippean satires are "pedants, bigots, cranks, parvenus, virtuosi, enthusiasts, rapacious and incompetent professional men of all kinds," which are treated as diseases of the intellect. The term Menippean satire distinguishes it from the earlier satire pioneered by Aristophanes, which was based on personal attacks
The form was revived during the Renaissance by Erasmus,
- François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel (1564)
- John Barclay, Euphormionis Satyricon (1605)
- Joseph Hall, Mundus Alter et Idem (1605)
- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621)
- Jonathan Swift, A Tale of a Tub and Gulliver's Travels
- Voltaire, Candide (1759)
- William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1794)
- Thomas Love Peacock, Nightmare Abbey (1818)
- Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus
- Charles Kingsley, The Water-Babies
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
- Aldous Huxley, Point Counter Point (1928)
- Nikolai Gogol, "Dead Souls"
- Djuna Barnes, Nightwood (1936)
- James Joyce, Finnegans Wake (1939)
- Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman (1939)
- Kurt Vonnegut, "Cat's Cradle" (1963)
- Thomas Pynchon, "The Crying of Lot 49" (1966)
- Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
- Jacob M. Appel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up (2012)
- Dave Eggers, The Circle (2013)