31 Genre: Satire

Aristophanes (450-c. – 385 B.C.)

  1. Satire
    1. Attacks deviations from the social order
    2. Shows how ridiculous violators of moral standards or manners are
    3. Diminishes or derogates a subject
    4. Limits ridicule to the failing, not the person—limits to corrigible faults and those not of the person’s responsibility
  2. Satiric Characters
    1. Greedy but intelligent rascally swindlers vs. greedy but gullible victims
    2. *Narrator is urbane, witty, and tolerant—points out failings in wry and humorous way *OR* Narrator is serious and dignified moralist who evokes contempt and indignation for subject
    3. Characters make themselves ridiculous and obnoxious by what they think, say, and do
  3. Satiric Themes
    1. Laughter is used as a weapon against something outside of the work itself, ex. individual, type of person, class, institution, nation, all of the human race
    2. Corrective of human vice and folly… Alexander Pope: “Those who are ashamed of nothing else are so of being ridiculous.”
    3. “black humour” points out situations of social cruelty, inanity, or chaos


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