Satire is a specific type of writing that often mocks people or ideas that are considered ridiculous or foolish. It is often used as a form of social commentary because it offers an entertaining way to make readers think about serious issues like politics or social justice.
Satire is often confused with parody because both use humor to criticize someone or something else. However, while parody aims at humorously imitating another work (usually in order to mock its style or content), satire uses humor as one of several tools for criticizing something else through wit and exaggeration (e.g., by mocking the subject’s behavior).
Satire is often used as an attack on political figures and institutions that are considered corrupt or unjust. It often uses irony and sarcasm to get its point across.
In contrast with sarcasm (which emphasizes words), satire emphasizes actions or situations for its effect on the reader or audience. Satire may use exaggeration or hyperbole to illustrate what’s wrong with a person or idea (for example). A satirist often exaggerates some aspect of the subject’s personality in order to show how ridiculous or foolish it is by comparison with another aspect of the same person (or situation).
Satire has been around since ancient times—the Greeks used it as a way to address political issues without fear of retribution from those in power at the time.