Satire is a form in art or writing which makes criticisms of a person, government and institution, often through humour. Satire can be humorous and make people laugh, but it is not just for making people laugh. Satire makes fun of people’s faults. It shows that they are bad or stupid and makes the reader, viewer or audience laugh at them. Satire can be found in paintings, plays, books, songs, TV or movies. Satire often uses irony to make its effect. Satire may be trying to change the way people behave by showing their weaknesses, or make them angry or sad by showing their flaws.
Satire was used long ago, even as long ago as the Ancient Greeks. It was widely known in Elizabethan times. Swift used satire in his book Gulliver’s Travels to make fun of people’s stupidity. Works like The Beggar’s Opera (1728) used satire to show how silly the politicians of the time were. In modern times the German playwright Bertolt Brecht used a lot of satire in his plays.
Satire often points out bad things that powerful people are doing, but may also harm disadvantaged or nonfamous people like you and me. The adjective is satirical.