THE ELEMENT OF SATIRE WITH RESPECT TO CHAUCER'S "CANTERBURY TALES"
It is human nature to laugh when an event goes wrong or to make a mockery of an all too serious person. But what if authors had the power to use this instinct within humans to drive a point across? In fact they do and they call this literary tool
satire. Many authors have used this tool as a backbone in their writings; others have only managed to throw in elements of satire here and there. However, there was one author who had mastered this literary tool, and who could use it to the extremes. He had the ability to use it as playfully and lightheartedly as if to just tease. But, in an instant, he could use it to denigrate a person and ruin all that was left of their self-dignity. His name was Geoffrey Chaucer and his weapon of choice, satire. Satire is one of the most effective ways of writing. It allows the writer to use his imagination to the fullest and be as malicious as he deems necessary, yet not cause the reader to leave in disgust (Highet 242). Satire is a form of literature that readers expect to find some form of profound ideas. However, with satire comes a variation of the truth. While satire is grounded in truth, it is a tainted form. Distorted by the writer as a way of expressing an idea (Highet 234). It is not quite certain where the origins of satire started, but most believe that it was the Romans to first coin the term satire (Highet 24). Satura, meaning dish of mixed ingredients (HTTP://WWW.GALENET.COM/SERVLET/DC). Two men that could be credited with the title of "The Grandfathers of Satire" are the Roman poets Horace and Lucilius who wrote volumes of poetry, which included their own views on world politics, social fads, and the characters of their friends (Highet 24). Now, one must ask oneself why would an author choose to write in satire? Possibly it was personal grudges (Highet 238). Or another reason may be to state an ideal. In this case, the...
Bibliography: HIGHET, GILBERT. THE ANATOMY OF SATIRE. PRINCETON: PRINCETON UP, 1962.
WAGENKNECHT, EDWARD. THE PERSONALITY OF CHAUCER. NORMAN: UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA PRESS, 1968.
WRIGHT, DAVID, ED. THE CANTERBURY TALES. GREAT BRITAIN: OXFORD UP, 1985.
"SATIRE." GALE GROUP. DEC. 2000. MERRIAM-WEBSTER 'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LITERATURE © 1995. NOV. 27 2001.
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