Friday, June 03, 2011

The Satires - Juvenal

First off - they may by satires but they aren't really laugh out loud funny. There are a few mildly funny stories, but nothing that a modern stand up comedian could do anything with. But there are times when they bring a smile to your face, and as you read more and get to know the author better you do start to find his approach to life amusing.
You get to know Juvenal pretty well from reading the Satires. He is a bit like the co-worker you can't stand to begin with, but who you warm to after a while. You realise he isn't as bad as he seems. Its just a shame he never stops moaning. The satires are are basically one prolonged moan. He moans about everything but mainly people. We can divide the moans into two broad categories. There are the specific failings of individuals, and there are generalised moans about whole groups of people.

In the world of Juvenal there are no heroes. There is no nobility. There is no justice. Everyone you meet is out for themselves. Everyone is vain. Nobody comes out looking good. Women are unfaithful. Men are misguided at best, stupid routinely and pretty often downright dishonest. Greeks are too clever by half and are even less trustworthy than the Romans - and given how bad the Romans are that is saying something.

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