The Evolution of Political Satire

Political satire is a type of art in which human shortcomings are highlighted through ridicule, irony and other such methodologies. The main purpose of these satires is to bring about an improvement in the overall system of the society. Political satires can also be termed as a positive critique which is done along with humor and comedy.

Mediums: Political Satires

There are many mediums nowadays through which political satires can be done. Among these mediums, the best is drama and literature. Nowadays visual arts, films and political cartoons are also used by political satirists.


Historical Records tell us that political satires have been there since the time of Greeks.  Very appealing political satires have been found in the Greek literature. The Roman history is also not short of satires. The satires of popular satirists of Rome like Horace and Juvenal are worth reading even today. Reading the text of these two greats give two different definitions of a satirist. According to Horace, a satirist is a person who sees insanity everywhere in the society. However rather than being Angry, he or she is often seen laughing. According to Juvenal, a satirist has a very dignified personality and he or she is often angry with corrupt behavior of the society.

The Era of Elizabeth

The reign of Queen Elizabeth can be termed as a Golden Age for the satirists. This is the age when the world produced well-Known Satirists like Jonathan Swift, Voltaire and Daniel Defoe. These people wrote some classical stuff and most of their work was very much straight forward. The famous work of Voltaire by the name of Candide gives one the impression that life is very beautiful however it is not short of Tragedies.  Similarly Jonathan Swift tried to highlight the cruelty of the world in which we live in. Lastly Daniel Defoe made some serious critique on the Monarchs.

The Evolution

Each period has produced great satirists of its time. As mentioned earlier, the Elizabethan satire had its own class. The Persian political satire has its own class and the Anglo-American satire gives a different feel to the reader. As a reader one finds lot of differences in the satires of different periods. The main reason behind this fact is that each period had its own different political scenario.

The Modern Political Satire

Though prose and cartoon political satire is also entertained by the masses however the type of political satire which has gained some serious fame among the masses is Television Shows. Many political satirists of television have become well-known celebrities today. The well-known political satirists of today are:

  • Trevor Noah
  • Lenny Bruce
  • Bill Maher
  • Jon Stewart
  • George Carlin
  • Stephen Colbert
  • Rick Mercer
  • Peter Cook
  • Maddox
  • Ian Hislop

Famous Shows

Some of the famous shows related to Political Satire are as follows:

  • Show
  • The Larry Slanders Show
  • Bill Hicks
  • The Thick of It