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It is a figure in which a statement is made in such a way as to excite contempt, ridicule or scorn.

'In Sarcasm a man does not state the contrary of what he means -he says what he means, but in such a way as to excite contempt or ridicule. The latter,  therefore, is not based upon indirectness of speech.  'Still we include this figure here because the preceding figure,  Irony,  sets it off and helps us to understand its similarity with and difference from Sarcasm. 

By this figure a direct attack  is made to expose the follies and weaknesses of a person. It is always bitter and ill-natured.  Its motive is to inflict pain. Unlike irony, here one means what one says, but the statement is made in such a way that it implies not commendation but derision.

In the example ' The Jews said of Christ that He saved others,  but could not save Himself ' we get an example of sarcasm,  for inflicting pain,  and there is no clash between the meaning of the words and their intention. 

Sarcasm should be clearly distinguished from Satire which,  strictly speaking,  is not a figure but a generic name for a type of writings which employ innuendo, irony,  sarcasm and wit. While Satire criticizes men,  manners,   actions or beliefs in general and holds them up to ridicule or scorn to make them hateful, Sarcasm indulges in personal resentment. 

The chief characteristics of Sarcasm are given below:


In it a direct attack is made against a person ; its purpose is to inflict pain.


It is always bitter,  and excites contempt, ridicule,  or scorn


There is no cleavage between what is stated and what is intended. 

Example :


His bark is worse than his bite


God made him and therefore let him pass for a man


Rousseau tells us admirably that we should walk on all fours.


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