An Introduction to Satire

English 10: British Literature
Mr. Ambrose
Elements of this lesson adapted from Exploring Satire with Shrek by Junius Wright
Check out this scene from Shrek.
Take notes on what you observe.
Satire: A literary work that ridicules its
subject in order to make a comment or
criticism about it.
There are four major techniques employed in
 Exaggeration
 Incongruity
 Reversal
 Parody
To enlarge, increase, or represent something
beyond normal bounds so that it becomes
ridiculous and its faults can be seen.
To present things that are out of place or are
absurd in relation to its surroundings.
To present the opposite of the normal order
(i.e. the order of events, hierarchical order).
To imitate the techniques and/or style of
some person, place, or thing.
Let’s take a look at Shrek one more time.
This time, see if you can find an example of each
satirical technique.
 Princess Fiona fights and successfully defeats Robin
Hood and his Merry Men without help.
 Princess Fiona uses her ponytail to defeat one of the
Merry Men, stopping in mid-air to adjust her hair
 The role of the hero and the damsel in distress are
reversed. The damsel saves the hero.
 The fight scene is an exaggerated imitation of the
martial arts style in movies like The Matrix.
The traditional story of the knight rescuing
the damsel in distress is not a realistic
depiction of the roles filled by men and
women in modern society.
Current Hollywood action movies like The
Matrix have become ridiculous because they
are too focused on special effects.
Any other ideas?
What satirical techniques are at work in this clip?
Write your ideas down in your notebook.
(We can watch it twice if you like.)
What elements of satire are present? Where?
 Exaggeration?
 Incongruity?
 Reversal?
 Parody?
What is the commentary being offered?
Read and discuss “Stephon Marbury
Embroils Celtics Big 3 in Shakespearean
 Find an example of a story you like on
 Print it out and bring it in tomorrow.
 In addition, write an analysis of the article (two
paragraphs), explaining (a) what elements of
satire are being employed and (b) what
commentary is being offered.
 Staple the article and your analysis together.
 Explore the website
 Find articles and videos that you think would be
interesting to the class.
 Enter class with articles and videos in mind to
share with the group.
 You might do this by e-mailing yourself links.