Difference Between Satire and Comedy

Main Difference – Satire vs Comedy

Comedy is a dramatic work that is humorous and light. Comedy can be classified as high comedy and low comedy; low comedy has no other purpose other than creating laughter whereas high comedy has the goal of social criticism. Satire falls into the category of high comedy. This is the main difference between satire and comedy.

This article discusses,

1. What is a Satire?
– Definition, Types, Goals, Features and Characteristics

2. What is a Comedy?
– Definition, Types, Features and Characteristics

3. What is the difference between Satire and Comedy?

Difference Between Satire and Comedy - Satire and Comedy Comparison Summary

What is a Satire

Satire can be simply described as a way of criticizing people, concepts, beliefs or opinions in a society using humor, wit, irony and ridicule. The term satire refers to a style critiquing the society as well as the work created by using that style.

Satire can create laughter in the audience, but the goal of satire is to expose and criticize the follies and vices in the society. A satirical work can expose the corruption, weaknesses, evil, abuse as well as the follies and absurdities of people. Satire is often created by using wit, irony, euphemism, exaggeration, and understatement.

Satire can be classified into two main types known as Horatian satire and Juvenalian Satire. Horatian satire, named after the Roman satirist Horace, is a form of gentle, humorous, and amusing satire that ridicules the follies and absurdities of the people. Juvenalian Satire, named after the ancient Roman satirist Juvenal, is a formal satire which attacks the vice and error in the society with contempt and indignation. Juvenalian Satire is more harsh and abrasive than Horatian satire.

Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451,George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock and Voltaire’s Candide are some examples of satires.

Difference Between Satire and Comedy

Satire of the fashion

What is a Comedy

A comedy is a performance of light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending. In short, comedy makes people laugh. The main motif of a comedy is the victory over adverse circumstances, which results in a happy and successful ending. A successful comedy does not only have the ability to make the audience laugh, but it also has the ability to criticize vices, follies, and absurdities in people and society.

As mentioned in the introduction, comedy can be classified as high comedy and low comedy. High comedy is a type of comedy characterized by witty dialog, irony, and satire. Low comedy is characterized by farce or slapstick humor. Low comedy has no other purpose other than creating laughter whereas high comedy has the goal of social criticism

Comedies can be further categorized into different genres. Given below are some of these genres.

Parody – A parody imitates the style of something or someone in an amusing way.

Comedy of Manners – This makes fun of the follies, vanities, hypocrisies and weaknesses of people using satire.

Romantic Comedy – Romantic comedy is based on the theme of love; it mostly involves the story of two lovers who are united at the end.

Black Comedy – Black comedy deals with serious subject matter such as death, terrorism, war, rape, drugs, etc.

Farce – Farce is a form of low comedy which uses exaggerated actions, characters and absurd situations.

Main Difference - Satire vs Comedy

Difference Between Satire and Comedy


Satire is the use of humor, wit, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s follies or vices.

Comedy is a performance of light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending.


Satire aims to expose and criticize follies of the society.

Comedy may not have an ulterior goal other than creating laughter.


Satire can be used in comedy.

Comedy can use satire to create laughter.

High Comedy

Satire is a form of high comedy.

Comedy can be classified as high comedy and low comedy.


Satire uses wit, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule.

Comedy can use slapstick, farce, irony, wit, satire, etc.

Image Courtesy:

“Theatre Farce (Petrov-Vodkin)” (Public Domain) via

“Waist-and-Extravagance-ca-1830-fashion-satire-Heath” (Public Domain) via

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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