How does the use of satire help to define Shakespeare's tragedies?

Essay by Muse October 2005

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The definition of satire is "literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change." Satire is more commonly used in comedies, but another popular way in which satire could be used is in a tragic approach; satire is just a way to mock it's topic, and the way in which it's described can evoke any emotion, though comedy is a favourite to many as it is universal- everyone can relate to the comedy aspect of things. Satire in comedy uses jokes on stereotypes and people's perceptions of others to challenge these ideas, they are put into a humorous context, but they are there to rouse feelings of unfairness or wrongful discrimination.

Many of Shakespeare's plays are satirical, as he wanted to prove a point that although it may be the accepted thing in society at the time, it isn't always the right thing to do.

Examples of these types of plays are: "Romeo and Juliet", "Measure For Measure" and "Taming of the Shrew." "Romeo and Juliet" is a tragedy that writes critically of the issues that are around at the time; Romeo and Juliet have done nothing wrong except to fall in love with rival families. The play depicts the morality problems with rivalry and violence that can happen if fights get out of hand and whole families are against each other. After all the tragedy and sadness, the families finally stop fighting amongst themselves, linking in with the traditional sense of satire; mocking its subject to provoke change.

A typical Shakespearean tragedy is different from the modern tragedy that is around today; the definition of modern tragedy is harder to pinpoint because there are many ways in which a story could...