Explore how satire effects the readers attitude toward the content of Alexander Pope’s, ‘Rape of the lock’, Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s travels’ and George Orwell’s ‘1984’.
Satire is defined as a literary genre or form used to ridicule, tease, torment and ‘poke fun at’, satire can employ irony and burlesque as methods of playfully making fun of a subject while at the same time making an extremely valid and thought provoking point which excites and stimulates the reader with its intellectual wit, militant irony and sarcasm.
When examining satirical texts it is important to understand that there are two forms of satire, Horatian and Juvenalian, both named after the ancient Roman poets Horace and Juvenal, who both claimed to write in the satirical genre, however there are distinct differences between the types of satire each poet used, for example, Horace wrote playfully, often using light hearted humour and good humoured wit to please the reader. Whereas Juvenal wrote much more abrasively, he would often attack some ‘evil’ in society and savagely ridicule it, using mockery and sharp wit that would offend some and often insult many. However due to its playfulness and sharp, intellectual wit Horatian satire is far more common in modern day society.
Satire can often have multiple meanings which engage the reader, provoking a number of ideas to form in the readers heads, connections between the stories in the texts and events that actually occurred in reality can often be made, for example George Orwell’s ‘1984’ tells the story of an all commanding leader ‘big brother’ who governed in an almost communist way. Orwell is particularly satirizing the Soviet Union, with some references to Nazi Germany. The poster of Big Brother, by its description, looks similar of both Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler. Both these leaders promoted their totalitarian form of government throughout the WWII. Connections made between the fiction of the text and the reality of actual events and people help the reader to become indulged within the text, a connection between the text and the reader is essential in keeping the readers mind occupied and involved within the story and Orwell’s use of satire throughout ‘1984’ helps create these connections between reality and fiction, which is why satire works so well and appeals to so many. Satire has other purposes as well, originally Pope’s ‘The Rape of The Lock’ was used to show young aristocracy of an upper class English court how foolish they had been in letting an event of such pitiful and harmless actions escalate into a topic of up most outrage within civilised society, even the title of Pope’s ‘The Rape Of the Lock’ is satirical in nature using hyperbole to create a title which, at first seems shocking but when understood reinforces the satirical nature of the whole poem firmly cementing it within the genre. Pope’s mock-epic approach aimed to reverse this escalation by employing hyperbole, epic conventions and an elevated tone to render the whole incident ridiculous, thus using humour to defuse the tension and bring about a reconciliation between Lady Arabella Fermor and her assailant. The entire purpose of Popes’ ‘The Rape Of The Lock’ was to create humour, which in turn gave birth to self reflection helping to calm the situation by bringing an air of ‘silliness’ to the whole event. George Orwell’s ‘1984’ tells the tale of Winston Smith, a low ranking member of the ruling party in Oceania, led by the seemingly ‘god like’ figure Big Brother who rules with militant ferocity, enforcing his strict totalitarian regime, governing all beings within Oceania, his rule is enforced even within the peoples homes, through ‘telescreens’ that act as Big Brother’s eyes and ears ensuring control over the public.
Winston Smith however is different to the average person in Oceania, he feels frustrated by the oppressive and rigid way the party rules and seeks to break free from this system that prevents him...
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