One of the first examples of parody may be found in ancient Greece, in the poem Batrachomyomachia (The Battle of the Frogs and Mice), in which an anonymous author copied Homer's epic style. In his comedy Frogs, Aristophanes mocked Aeschylus and Euripides' theatrical approaches (produced in 405 BC). Also worth mentioning is Plato's parody of his own writing in The Republic, in which he imagines what his book would have been like if he had written it as a novel.
In modern culture, parodies appear to have been popularized by Jonathan Swift when he published "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Abuses of Pregnancy" in 1729. The essay proposed that the problem with poor children being abandoned after their parents could not afford to feed them was that they were eaten by pigs. To solve this issue, Swift suggested that the government should adopt a policy of selling all pregnant women's babies at birth and feeding them themselves until they reached sexual maturity. This idea made him famous and led to many other poems, books, and essays being labeled as "modest proposals."
Swift's essay was a satire, or joke paper. It showed that even though its message was serious, it was done in a way that caused readers to laugh. Modern parodies often include elements of humor to catch people's attention or to make a point.
The ancient Greeks are credited with inventing parody. A parody was a song or poetry that copied the style and flow of another poem in ancient Greece. The term parody derives from Greek, with par meaning "beside" and ody referring to a "ode" or "song." Around 1598, one of the first examples of parody in English society was created. William Shakespeare wrote several poems that were parodies of other poets such as Horace's Art of Poetry by Don Armando Francisco de Villanueva.
In modern times, parody has become a popular form of comedy. Parody can be used to criticize certain things about society or some particular behavior or ideology. Modern comedians will often use satire to make jokes about current events or topics that may be inappropriate for joking about elsewhere. For example, George Carlin made many jokes about politics and politicians during the 1990s and 2000s, but never tried to hide his disdain for them. Other famous contemporary parodists include Andy Kaufman, who performed as himself on television shows, and Charlie Sheen, who made fun of his own career on Two And A Half Men.
In film, music, and other forms of media, a parody is content that copies aspects of another work and produces a new work that humorously comments on the original. For example, The Beatles' song Yesterday contains numerous references to classical music, which allowed them to comment on popular songs at the time.
The 11 surviving plays of Aristophanes represent the earliest extant body of comic drama; what is known as Greek Old Comedy is derived from these plays, the earliest of which, The Acharnians, was produced in 425 BC. The early comedies were performed before an audience that included both men and women, who laughed at jokes told by the actors on stage.
He was born in 385 BC in Athens, Greece. He was one of the most important dramatists in ancient Greece and his work continues to be performed today. His original name has been lost but he is usually called Aristophanes because one of his plays has survived under this name. His other plays have been preserved under the names of their authors: Lysistrata, a play written by Aristophanes' colleague Agathon; Ekklesia, a play written by another Athenian author named Aeschylus; and The Knights, a play written by another Athenian author named Euripides.
He died in 365 BC. Although there are reports that his last words were "I am not dying but laughing," none of these reports can be verified with any certainty. What is known for certain is that he was imprisoned several times by the authorities of Athens for producing plays that they considered subversive and damaging to the city-state. However, he always managed to escape from prison again.
Satirical writings had a great impact on humans as early as the 7th century B.C.E. Archilochus, the Greek poet, is said to have insulted a whole family into death! He and other Greek poets such as Aristophanes helped lay the groundwork for all Western comedy.
Satire also played an important role in the Enlightenment. Voltaire's satire influenced people like Thomas Jefferson who wanted to abolish slavery in America. Jonathan Swift wrote several poems that criticized England during their war with France. These poems are now known as "The Defense of the Constitution" because they help protect Americans' rights to free speech and press. George Washington Carver was a American scientist who developed many products using black-seed oil. He called his company's product line "Carver Seeds" and sold them through mail order. The name "Carver" has become synonymous with any type of seed bank.
In the 1930s, New York City newspaper columnist Walter Winchell popularized satirical news articles titled "Winchesters." These articles were written by Stanley Walker and later James Thurber. Today, The Onion is another famous source of satirical journalism.
Satire has also been used in political cartoons. Charles Schulz created the comic strip "Charlie Brown" in 1951.
Satire started with the ancient Greeks but came into its own in ancient Rome, where the two primary varieties of satire were named after the "fathers" of satire, Horace and Juvenal (Applebee 584). Satiric poetry is known from many other cultures including those of India, Persia, and China, but it was the Romans who made it their own.
Horace is regarded as the father of Roman satire. He was a lyric poet who also dabbled in prose, especially when paid to do so. His work is considered important for laying the groundwork of what would later become the art form of satire. He inspired others to write satirical poems about the failings of society at large and the hypocrisy of the rich and powerful. Some of these poets even went on to win major awards themselves such as the Punicus Prize from the city of Carthage which was given to them for writing the best satires on a particular topic.
Juvenal was another famous Roman satirist whose work spanned nearly half a century. He too wrote about the shortcomings of society and the excesses of the rich and powerful. What set him apart from his fellow Romans was his foreign birth - he was born in 93 AD in Spain.