If satire is epic's ‘evil twin’, then tragedy is satire's ugly sister. Both epic and tragedy soar aloft in the stratosphere of the generic hierarchy, viewed humbly and from a distance by satire's pedestrian muse, who at the same time scoffs at their overblown irrelevance. Many of the same criticisms, often framed as back-handed compliments, are cast at both genres by their poor relation, but there are also distinctions. Epic, even if cloistered in an ivory tower, is constructed as sharing the impossible purity of that ivory, the better for its lofty and noble themes to be befouled, debased and perverted in the distorting mirror held up by its evil twin. Tragedy, however, is itself a perversion, ethically and aesthetically, a mishmash of vice and excess which is a natural target for satire, the self-appointed social policeman, but which also bears an uncomfortable resemblance to satire's own nature. Much work has been done in recent years on satire's engagement with and tendentious construction of tragedy, but very little on tragedy's reciprocal engagement with satire. The latter will be the focus of this article, approached from two, closely-related angles.