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Pope as a Satirist

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  • October 19, 2012
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POPE AS A SATIRIST
Satire is a literary genre, usually meant to be funny. The word ‘Satire’ was defined by Richard Garnett as, The expression in adequate terms of the sense of amusement or disgust excited by the ridiculous or unseemly, provided the humour is a distinctly recognized element and the utterance is inverted with literary form. Without humour satire is invective, without literary form, it is mere clownish jeering. (Encyclopedia Britannica 14th ed. vol. 20 p. 5) Satire is defined by Long as, “a literary work which searches out the faults of men or institutions in order to hold them up to ridicule” (Gupta: 28). Then according to Applebee, Satire is a literary technique in which behaviors or institutions are ridiculed for the purpose of improving society. What sets satire apart from other forms of social and political protest is humor. Satirists use irony and exaggeration to poke fun at human faults and foolishness in order to correct human behavior. (584) The greater purpose of satire is criticizing the norms society in a useful manner using wit as a weapon, and thus paves a way for social improvement. Based on the view of Dryden, the true purpose of satire is, “the correction amendment of vices by correction” (Satire Quotes). Basically, satire is of two kinds, personal and impersonal satire; the personal satire is short lived, has only little permanency and is targeted towards the individual, and so the effect of the personal satire is in the hands of the master; whereas the impersonal satire has wider range, the target is universal rather than the individual, and provides finest achievements when compared to the personal tragedy. Satire is as old as literature, and the Romans like Persius, Horace and Juvenal were the great satirists, who first lay down the principles of satire and how it made its own fashion in literature. Horace in his work satires the human race, Persius reveals angry in his portrayal of man, and Juvenal is cynical in his approach,...