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Advertising and symbolism


Satire picks up on the follies and shortcomings of individuals. By playing on these themes it creates exaggerated caricatures of individuals and groups in order to shame and mock them.

The genre of satire goes back to antiquity in Greek theatre; however, its golden age was during the Early Modern period. The growth of a more politicised society and the printing press provided fertile ground for satire. For example in the 17th Century Don Quixote was written by Cervantes as a satire of Chivalric Romances. Cartoonists such as James Gillray, William Hogarth and Robert Dighton created cartoons for increasingly popular newspaper mocking political opponents and by the Victorian era the infamous Punch magazine was introduced.

Satire continued to develop, particularly in the 20th Century with increasing access to television, and broadcasting began to take the place of the newspaper as the realm of the satirist with television programmes such as That Was the Week that Was and Spitting Image.

In more recent times satire has become more dangerous and controversial. Increasing globalisation and the influence of the internet have sparked debates over the boundaries of freedom of speech and deliberately causing offence, with questions arising over the point at which satire goes too far.