Satire is the art of exposing human vice and folly. It can be seen in literature as in the Work of Jonathan Swift and in other art forms such as editorial cartooning. A satire is never just a reasoned argument or mere invective. It uses mockery or some other literary or visual device to achieve an effect and hold the attention.
Satire frequently proceeds through allegory, sometimes to evade censorship, but sometimes for the effects that can be gained. When Spenser satirised the Elizabethan court in Mother Hubberds Tale, he made no attempt to disguise who he was aiming at.
Satire may also take the form of parody.
Satirists on satire
- Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
- The Battle of the Books, preface (1704)
Satire in art
In the 18th century, William Hogarth produced a considerable number of satirical paintings, then reproduced as prints. The best known are probably the series The Rake's Progress and Gin Lane.