Peter Barnes Writing Styles in The Ruling Class

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Satire's goal is to effect social improvement— or at least chastisement for the follies of human nature. Although Barnes has stated that "nothing needs changing when it's all a joke," satire uses humor as constructive criticism. In The Ruling Class Barnes ridicules the pretensions of the upper class by exaggerating their pompous behavior to the point of absurdity. Thus the Thirteenth Earl carries the eccentric behavior of the stereotypical British lord to a ridiculous extreme—self-hanging as excessive masochism. Barnes's form of satire is known as Juvenalian satire, named for the Roman satirist Juvenal whose biting satires exposed the vices of the Roman elite. Horatian satire, named for Horace,is gentler and more urbane. Juvenalian satire confronts its target viciously, with anger. In Barnes's version of this, no one is safe: from the bloated and sputtering Sir Charles and his dim-witted son, Dinsdale, to the grumbling butler...

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This section contains 723 words
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The Ruling Class from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.