Satire has the aim to arouse certain feelings within the responder as it explores different levels of ideas about a subject. It is through poetry that this aim can be produced. The elements of rhyme scheme and the use of metaphors and similes to create imagery allow the humor of satire to be achieved as it is these elements of poetry which place emphasis on the ideas of a subject which a poet has chosen to satirise. The comparison of two poems by Thomas Watson, Hecatompathia 7 and William Shakespeare, Sonnet 130, and The Unknown Citizen by W.H.Auden explore this concept of poetry being an effective vehicle for satire.
Rhyme scheme is a common element in poetry that when used achieves an enjoyable and lyrical sound for the responder. This lyrical sound enables the satire in poetry to be humorous and interesting for the responder as it takes the responder on a journey to understand what the poet intends. In Shakespeare Sonnet 130 he satirises the poem Hecatompathia by Thomas Watson, by describing a mistress vastly different to the woman Watson describes. He does this by describing that he sees no such roses in her “cheekes” and stating instead that her breath is not delightful but rather “reekes”. The rhyme of “cheekes” and “reekes” helps to create a lyrical humor for the responder.
Poetry relies solely on imagery to create a sense of understanding for the responder as it uses similes and metaphors to exaggerate the ideas of the poet allowing satire to occur. The poet, Jonathan Swift, in “On the death of a late famous General”, creates the surroundings of imagery by describing the General’s pride as “bubbles” which if “rais’d by breath of Kings” will fill up too high and “…float upon the tide of state”. In his decription of the General’s pride as bubbles Swift emphasizes the ego of the General, which eventually brought him to his deadly fate.
Mood and message is also important in poetry to create satire as it forms the atmosphere that a responder...