Read this article to know about the Satirical Comedy Meaning and Features in English Literature.

What is Satire?

Satire is a figure of speech, used by the writers to expose and criticize the follies and misdoings of the individuals and society.

Meaning of Satirical Comedy

Satirical comedy is the form of satire in which the writer uses comic elements to expose the realities of the society or any problem. The writer uses fictional characters to represent the real people, to expose and condemn their corruption. It intends to improve the problems of the society by exposing them and by giving their solutions.

The writer uses irony, humor and exaggeration to show the follies and misdoings of the leaders. A writer can point out towards an individual, a society or even the whole world. Usually, it’s a comic piece of writing through which the shortcomings of the society can be shown to the world in the hope that those who are being criticized will change their characters by overcoming their weaknesses.

Satirical Comedy Characteristics

  • Satirical comedy relies on humor which follows criticism on certain levels.
  • It is used to bring about social change. When the actions become humorous there is an urge to change them or to improve them according to the need. This idea is to encourage the betterment.
  • Satire is implied. It is the duty of the reader to find out the humor; otherwise, they can not enjoy the satire lies in it.
  • Satirical comedy is usually not only about individuals instead it satire is directed at society as a whole, or the types of the characters in the society as politicians and the prideful.
  • The purpose of this satirical comedy is to enlarge the faults in the people to make them aware of their foolishness.

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Examples of Satirical Comedy:

  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Jonathan Swift is the famous satirist of his time, wrote a satire on the nature of human beings and their follies. The character of the novel Lemuel Gulliver travels from place to place in the country and finds out that there are various types of people living in this world. Which are different from each other in their manners.

In an encounter with Lilliputians, a society with few inches tall people, he noticed that there are some Lilliputians who wear high heels and the other wear low heels. The people with low heels took the charge of the high costs of government and recommend the people with low heels to these posts. That shows there is no link to ability in government appointments. This leads towards the grouping of the people as Whigs and Tories in English culture.

  • Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

In Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain uses satire to mock many aspects of the modern world. He has used the concept of slavery to show the inhumane treatment of the slaves of that time. He did not believe that slavery is good in any way. Through his character Jim he has presented the life of slavery and the treatments with slaves by their owners.

There is a character Miss Watson, who is called as a good Christian woman. She has great moral values but she was the slave owner. She intends to sell Jim to the new owner. The satire is that how a good woman can become so cruel when it comes to owning slaves as property. At the last Miss Watson feels guilt upon her actions and frees Jim on her own and gives him freedom.

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

George Orwell’s comedic satire is about the Russian Revolution. He represents the Russian people with animals on the farm with the leading figure by pigs as the representative of communism. At the start, these pigs were giving equal rights to all the animals, but with the passage of time they turn all the benefits to themselves and exclude all the other animals from the reward of the farm. At the end of the story then men are back and animals who were outside of the farm cannot tell the difference between pigs and human beings. He criticizes that the men who got power after the revolution were not equal to the common people.

  • The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

Pope is the writer of the 18th century and The Rape of the Lock is a social document because it mirrors contemporary society and contains satire in it. The whole setting of the novel revolves around the false standards of the society. Pope criticizes the young girls and boys of that time also the husbands and wives. He expressed the absurdities and frivolities of the fashionable circle of England.

The protagonist Belinda’s world of fashion is trivial. She all the does makeup, sleeping, enjoyment, and allures the lords. There is no purpose in her life; she suffers from ill nature and mischievous behavior. The subject of the novel is very trivial- a love affair between a lady and a gentleman. Lord Byron proposes Blinds, who rejects him then he cuts her lock.

This comic and trivial issue has got the treatment of a great epic. The satire is that the people have nothing to do with the other matters and they just focus on their own personalities and fight on trivial matters as the cutting of a lock becomes the big dispute. These are some of the examples of satiric comedy which represents how the elements of foolishness can be put forward and can improve for the betterment of the society.

-Iqra Khadim

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