Satire, in literature, prose or verse that employs wit in the form of irony, innuendo, or
outright derision to expose human wickedness and folly. The term is derived from
the Latin satura, meaning a "medley" or "mixture," and is related to the Latin adjective satur.
Satire is an aristocratic art. It is not afraid to tell unpopular truths , but its
habit is to tell them with the assurance and detachment of ridicule, and ridicule is the
weapon of contempt.
The word satire derives from the Latin satira, meaning "medley." A satire, either in prose or in poetic form, holds prevailing vices or follies up to ridicule . : it employs humor and wit to criticize human institutions or humanity itself, in order that they
might be remodeled or improved. Satire as an English literary form derives in large part from Greek and Roman literature.
The 18 th century, however, in which poetry, drama, essays, and literary criticism were all imbued with the form, was the golden age of
English satire. Dryden, Swift, Pope, Addison, Steele, and Johnson were all great satirists, and self-described heirs of the
Roman poets Horace and Juvenal. Horatian satire tends to be gentler and more sympathetic than the more biting and bitter.
The Idylls and the Satire :
An idyll is a short pictorial poem chiefly on pastoral subjects.
1. It is very brief,
2. It produces pictorial effect, and shows concrete ideas.
3. Choice of language and style leave an indelible impression in the mind.
4. It can be a part of an elegy or epic , a piece of a ballad or a play.
Milton, Wordsworth , Shakespeare , Tennyson and Browning have used Idyll forms successfully in their works.
The Satire is a literary composition in verse , essentially a criticism of folly or vice , which it holds up to ridicule or scorn. Its chief instruments are irony , sarcasm, invective, wit and humor.
Characteristics of Satire :
1. It is a light form of composition.
2. It aims at amendment of vices by correction
3. Forceful and outspoken and hits the target straight.
Some well known Satirists : Alexander Pope, John Dryden, Dr Johnson.