According to the first paragraph of "Of Satire," what is the purpose of satire? What does Dryden say in the second paragraph is the type of satire he admires most, and to what does he attribute one's ability to use this type of satire successfully? What words does he use to show his disapproval of harsher forms of satire?
The purpose of a satire is to make an example of other people’s foolish or bad mistakes and actions. It warns people of what not to do. Dryden admires satire that is mockery, but still gentle. This type of satire is something one cannot learn. It comes natural to those that think a certain way, and Dryden even says that it must come from a genius. Harsher forms of satire use more blunt and shameful descriptions to get the point across. Dryden writes, “yet there is still a difference betwixt the slovenly butchering of a man and the fineness of a stroke that separates the head from the body and leaves it standing in one place.” The first thing compared is the other forms of satire. The word “butchering” gives a cruel, messy, and almost inhumane feeling. These same feelings can somewhat be translated over to describe other forms of satire. Besides “butchering,” he uses other words and phrases like “wounded” and “opprobrious (shameful) terms,” among others, to show his disapproval of other forms of satire.
Dryden, John. "Of Satire." British Literature. By Ronald Horton. 2nd ed. Greenville: BJU, 2003. 382. Print.