Elements of Satire

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					Elements of Satire

     Gulliver’s Travels
a literary work that
  makes fun of a
  subject by ridiculing
  and demeaning it.
            Elements of Satire
 Must attack an
  institution (government,
  politics, religion,
  education ect)
 Must be humorous
 Must use responsibility
  (in other words it cannot
  outwardly mock
  anything that could
  damage the writer’s
  reputation or ruin the
  fabric of society)
            Elements of Satire
 There must be a clear
  target (it cannot be
  obvious though)
 Formal Language (if it
  does not have this it
  becomes slap stick
 Becomes like a private
  joke– it involves
  sophistication and
  everyone may not get it.
         Elements of Satire
Usually uses irony
 and wit
Usually uses a
 common medium:
 could be a poem,
 debate, news report,
 short story etc.
A good satire should
 make the
 reader/watcher think
           Purpose of Satire
Satire’s purpose is to   Satire usually asks us
 bring about change!       to see what is around
This makes it             us and consider it.
 different from a
 Parody which simply
 makes fun of an
 individual or
 institution for comic
   Satire in Gulliver’s Travels
 Big Endians and Small Endians
   This refers to the argument with the country across
    the sea as to which side of the egg to break
   This is a reference to the warring between France
    and England over land and religion. Remember
    both are Christian countries, but one is Catholic and
    the other Protestant.
   The reference to the Emperor cutting his finger as
    he broke the egg, is an allusion to King Henry VIII
    (remember the King with all the wives, father of
    Queen Elizabeth) who created the Church of
    England and “broke” the Catholic hold on England.
Emperor of Lilliput
           The Emperor is
            actually a satire of
            King George I.
           He is the ruler that
            succeeds the throne
            after Queen Anne and
            is ruling when swift
            writes the novel.
           King George was
            actually German and
            gains the throne
            through marriage.
            More on the Emperor
 He was a militant leader
 He hated living in England and
  refused to learn English. He
  would often yell at his advisors in
  German and then get even more
  angry when they couldn’t
  understand him.
 He was hated by the English
  people. He and his family were
  gross, humorless, mean, and ill-
  tempered. This made them the
  objects of much ridicule
  including Swift’s.
 Even his son hated him.
 He was incredibly fat and stupid
  as well.
            Emperor Continued
 Despite King George’s
  unattractiveness, he had
  several mistresses (equally
 His wife tried to elope with
  another man, her lover was
  mysteriously found dead. His
  wife was imprisoned for 32
  years until her death.
 In the meantime, George had
  to infamous mistresses. One
  was 60 years old and so
  skinny the people called her
  “Maypole” Another was so
  fat they called her
   Satire in Gulliver’s Travels
 The High Heels and the Low Heels
    This refers to the political parties in England at the time
     Swift is writing. The High Heels are the Tories
     (remember this party believes in the power of the King
     and the church)and the Low Heels are the Whigs (the
     party that believes in having a parliament that checks the
     power of the king).
    The Emperor at one point favors the Low Heels and
     wears them himself.
    Eventually the Emperor wears one low and one high
     heal. This is a direct correlation to King George’s
     attempt to appears as not to favor one party over
          Elections in Gulliver
 In Gulliver’s Travel’s, Gulliver witnesses a strange
  ribbon dance that is used to choose the next elected
  officials in Lilliput.
 Swift is commenting on the absurdity of English
  elections. While the people could choose who would
  represent them in Parliament, the King could buy
  votes of both the people and parliament by promising
  Cabinet positions, land and titles. In other words,
  the elections did not represent the will of the people
  but rather their greed and are as absurd as choosing
  a government based on their ability to dance.
         Gulliver’s Travels
These are just a few examples from the
 first book. Look for more in the other

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