Satire Origin and Meaning


Satire Origin and Meaning


Satire Origin and Meaning

Satire is a form of literary composition either in prose or verse the function of which is to expose vices and follies of society and individuals. Its purpose is to purge society of its evils and sins which corrodes social health. John Dryden, a great English satirist says, “The true end of satire is the amendment of vices by correction”. Comedy differs from satire in this respect that comedy evokes laughter as an end in itself, while satire derides with a view to make the reader conscious of social vices and follies.

The credit of being the originator of satire as an independent genre of literature goes to the Romans, not to the Greeks, though the satiric spirit is present in Greek literature. There is satire in Homer and in Aristophanes. The originator of satire as a characteristic poetic form is said to be a Roman named Lucilius. Other ancient Roman satirists who cultivated this genre of literature in verse were Horace, Persius, Juvenal and some others. Rome produced some prose satirists also among whom mention may be made of Petronius.

Satire as a conscious genre of literature in English began in the seventeenth century. Among the great English satirists, mention must be made of John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Dr. Johnson and Lord Byron. English satire in prose is found in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The Roman satirist especially Horace and Juvenal were the models for the English satirists.

The satirists use various weapons to work out their satiric purpose. They use plain narrative, invectives, irony, and wit. The use of irony and inventiveness makes satire more and more enjoyable and fascinating. 0 0 0.

N. B. The article originally belongs to the book entitled ‘ The Laws of Literature by Menonim Menonimus

Books on Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period (500 AD-622 AD)
  15. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Early Islamic Period (622 AD-661 AD) …

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


  1. […] Satire in literature is a powerful tool for social critique and commentary, using humor and irony to shed light on the follies and injustices of individuals, institutions, or societal norms. By employing wit and exaggeration, satirical works challenge readers to question established ideas, fostering a critical perspective and encouraging reflection on the complexities of human behavior and society. 0 0 0. What is Satire in Literature […]


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