Essay on Satire and Black Humor in Dr. Strangelove

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Even though Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb screened in the midst of the sobering Cold War, critics were keen on praising the film for its mastery of humor applied to such a sensitive matter. The film is exceedingly loaded with metaphors, innuendos, and allusions that nothing can be left undissected or taken for face value; the resulting effect is understood to be part of Kubrick’s multifarious theme. Kubrick has stated that what began as a “the basis for a serious film about accidental war ” eventually birthed an absurd and farcical classic comedy. The director fuses together irony, satire, and black humor to create a waggish piece but most of all the situation of the times and its…show more content…
In fact, sex weaves itself into the entire film: the survival kit the bombers are given contains female articles and prophylactics, the opening scene is of two planes “mating ”, and the missiles themselves become phallic when Major Kong rides one like a thrilled cowboy. Kubrick’s intent to mix in sex with the looming war plot is compelling because these two acts are primitive characteristics that are still inherently man: the desire to fornicate and the desire to compete/kill. Why audiences should find this uproarious despite the serious matter at hand is exactly because war and lust are crude leftovers despite millenniums of evolution; it is pathetically instinctual that humans create trouble regardless of their intellectual genius. Kubrick employs all techniques of humor but most notably black humor, parody, and irony. Each character is employed to be the amplified version of their real-world counterparts. Americans are military cowboys, Russians are haughty drunks, scientists are insane, and the only woman in the film happens to be a sexy secretary. Regarding the culture of nuclear threat that was present during the time of this film, the characters were necessarily exaggerated to satirize the political dynamics permissible by the
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