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Humorous Criticism of Elegies: Mersiye-i Gurbe of Meali
Death which is one of the life stages and various ways to express the suffering of human beings in the face of the loss of the deceased have been demonstrated in a variety of ways. The literary form of this expression is an elegy. Elegies are a kind of folk lyrics in praise of the deceased or the lost. Favours, virtues, successes and distinguishing characteristics of the lost are listed often in an exaggerated way. These poems have been composed to sultans, princes, statesmen, the religious leaders, relatives or friends as well as to lost cities. They are also elegies written to animals apart from those written to persons and places. One of them was written by the 16th-century poet Meâlî. In several sources, Meâlî is described as a beardless man who was cheerful and frivolous by temperament, and it is also mentioned that those who saw him could not stop laughing. Meâlî featured satire and humor in his poems to such an extent to push the understanding of that time. Using his subtle wit and elegant intelligence, Meâlî satirized/criticized an elegy that is the literary expression of the painful experience death in his 21-stanza poem entitled “Mersiye-i Gürbe” (literally translated as “Elegy to the Cat”). He criticized the extravagant elements of the Ottoman elegiac tradition via this dead cat in a humorous and exaggerated style. The aim of the present paper is to reveal that this 21-stanza cat elegy that amuses at first is, in fact, a humorous satire/critique on the elegiac literature on the basis of classical elegiac patterns and parts.

elegy, Meâlî, humor, satire, mersiye-i gürbe

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