Types of Satire & Satiric Devices


Types of Satire & Satiric Devices

Satire is often strictly defined as a literary genre or form; although in practice it is also found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humor in itself so much as an attack on something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the weapon of wit.

There are two types of satire: Horatian and Juvenalian

Horatian satire is: tolerant, witty, wise and self-effacing Juvenalian satire is: angry, caustic, resentful, personal

Satiric Devices 1.



Exaggeration: To enlarge, increase, or represent something beyond normal bounds so that it becomes ridiculous and its faults can be seen. Ex. the formalized walk of Charlie Chaplin, the facial and body contortions of Jim Carrey B.

Understatement: A statement that seems incomplete or less than truthful given the facts. Ex. Fielding’s description of a grossly fat and repulsively ugly Mrs. Slipslop: “She was not remarkably handsome.” 2.





Incongruity: to present things that are out of place or are absurd in relation to its surroundings. D.

Deflation: the English professor mispronounces a word, the President slips and bangs his head leaving the helicopter, etc. E.

Linguistic games: malapropisms, weird rhymes, etc. a.

Malapropism: a deliberate mispronunciation of a name or term with the intent of poking fun. Irony: Literary device in which there is an incongruity or discordance between what one says or does, and what one means or what is generally understood. Invective: name calling, personal abuse, etc. Mock Encomium: praise which is only apparent and which suggests blame instead Grotesque: creating a tension between laughter and horror or revulsion; the essence of all “sick humor: or “black humor” 6.



Comic Juxtaposition: linking together with no commentary items which normally do not go together Mock Epic/Mock Heroic: using elevated diction and devices from the epic or the heroic to deal with low or trivial subjects Travesty: presents a serious (often religious) subject frivolously, reducing everything to its lowest level.


Burlesque: ridiculous exaggeration achieved through a variety of ways. For example, the sublime may be absurd, honest emotions may be turned to sentimentality. STYLE is the essential quality in burlesque. A style ordinarily dignified may be used for nonsensical matters , etc. 10.

Parody: mimicking the style and/or techniques of something or someone else **NOTE—TRAVESTY, BURLESQUE & PARODY are similar, but travesty always makes a mockery of a serious subject, whereas burlesque and parody may do the reverse. Information retrieved from URL: http://home.flash.net/~ghoyer/comedy/SATIRE%20AND%20SATIRICAL%20DEVICES.htm

Some Literary Satirists:

Miguel de Cervantes, Rabelais, Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Jane Austen, William Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Joseph Heller, Thomas Pynchon, Mark Twain, John Kennedy Toole, and many others.

Some Visual Satires:

Monty Python, Saturday Night Live, MADTV, The Daily Show, The National Lampoon, The New Yorker, The Onion, Anchorman, The Scary Movie films, The Misprint Magazine, www.brainsnap.com, Airplane, Austin Powers, the songs of Weird Al Yankovic, Mean Girls, and many more.