A Tribute to “The Rape of the Lock”

Rape of the lock by Alexander Pope

The Rape of the lock just isn’t solely an exquisitely ingenious instance of an ideal satire, it’s an exceptionally stunning candidate contesting man’s best achievements in mental capability, for the type of grace that’s an immortal aim in each man. Rape of the lock is an unusual satire based mostly on a real incident within the lifetime of Arabella Fermor and Lord Petre, the place Lord Petre at a ball was so enraptured by Miss Fermor that he proceeded to snip away a lock of her hair. This very incident triggered rigorous rivalries between the 2 respectively distinguished households, which we’re made to know, have been on in any other case higher and extra convivial phrases. Pope, imbued and kindled by each Muse and creativeness, went forward to concoct a story that elaborated the self-importance and the ludicrousness of enterprise such a useless enterprise of a breach for an unworthy and ineffably trifling cause. It’s believed that Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, was instrumental in redeeming the misplaced cordiality and amity amongst them and announcing the hatchet buried. Within the following snippets, I am going to alight upon what I contemplate the cardinal cantos of the poem. So, they comply with –


Earlier than summarizing the third canto, it’s important to keep in mind that Pope persistently burlesques Homer’s and Virgil’s prowess within the epical vogue, establishing essentially the most basic and draconic of ideas of permitting some semblance to the style of manufacturing a mock-epic. The third and fourth cantos, with the one exception of the Homeric battle within the fifth canto, stockpile nearly all key situations of parodied or satirized scraps of the majestic epic method. Even in a segregate essay by Pope himself, he pokes cool, unlabored enjoyable on the epic motif and infers that the epical model of writing is choked with invariable standard loopholes that may solely very lamely qualify as stipulations of fashion or a freak of an ideology.

Now, the summarizing of Pope’s mock epic might concern a really summary method, as is commonplace to paraphrasing poetry. Written for the eighteenth century layman, on the entire the satire might be intriguingly assumed to mark the hypocrisy of the aristocratic class, and if such an creation is welcomed, then the third canto is the vastest episode of such a stabbing enterprise. By debunking the self-importance concerned behind the partitions of the non-public chambers of Hampton Court docket, Pope concentrates on envisioning a supercilious and hypocritical stubbornness of a superfluous class that overtly toils to decorate their miens or normal natures with uncommon airs as these of snuff-boxes and card-games. A lot house has been rendered to the neat portrayal of the card-game, Ombre, which has been confidently imitated from the ‘Scacchia of Vida’, and by such an instance in a castigating satire, maybe Pope goals to chastise the useless, grotesque and far refutable elitist temperaments and unworthy subtle tendencies of a haughty and lofty class of aristocracy. It’s in the course of the card recreation that Belinda encounters with the Baron and defeats him on the recreation.

Proceedings head in order that the Baron, so stimulated by Belinda’s unerring, beguiling charms that he readies himself to snip away a lock of her hair. Although causes haven’t been customary, however Clarissa is the one who lends the scissors to the baron to start the nefarious deed. All through these junctures, it’s maybe the sylphs (Pop borrowed the concept of the invisible beings from slightly French e book entitled, Le Comte de Gabalis) that aren’t solely nice sources of amusement however present some categorical depth and swashbuckling nervy gung-ho zest to the scene – ‘Swift to the lock a thousand sprites restore’. A number of sylphs tug at Belinda’s earring about thrice, making her flip only a tad, not sufficient to identify the Baron with the ‘engine’. Some sylphs humorously, drolly however nonetheless unsuccessfully try at blowing on the endangered lock to make it shift, budge.

Ariel, Belinda’s private sylph, tries to conduct all different sylphs however then discovers that since Belinda holds some delicate however hidden emotions for the baron, he too retreats obediently. The deed is completed. The Baron snips away a lock of Belinda’s hair with the unfold ‘deadly Forfex’. The quick denouement explains how a sylph ventures between the blades of the scissors to arrest the method however is split in two, which line is an admirable parody on Milton’s concept of a wounded Devil – ‘The girding sword, with discontinuous wound, handed thro him; however the ethereal substance closed, Not lengthy divisible’. On the finish of the canto, Pope lends a comic book panegyric to the invention that’s metal and the way greater than as soon as it has confirmed the doom of man. On the entire, it’s simply to level out that this canto may solely be essentially the most pregnant of the 5, for it holds all actual and effectual motion of the satire.

Omens have been normal and customarily standard to a poet’s method to suggest or counsel or presage some oncoming adversity. Virgil did it to develop upon the loss of life of Dido. The rape of Belinda’s lock too is preceded with alarming, droll and comedian prodigies, which might be found within the first canto.


Canto 4 discusses the sphere of the domesticated supernatural, i.e., the sylphs, intimately and with extra inventive ingenuity as Pope deliberates on the ‘gloomy cave of Spleen’.


The affairs as their flip have them are sublimated from, and the scene shifts to the cave of spleen as a gnome or ‘a dusky melancholy Spright’, Umbriel, careers down or repairs to the Central earth, to the cave of spleen. Spleen, although imagined within the textual content as a deity, is definitely the personification of a melancholic dysfunction prevalent in girls of the higher social strata resulting from intense torpor, languor and indolence. There are vicious pictures governing the cave dovetailed with the enthroned, indifferent, ‘wayward queen’, to whom the gnome entreats to ‘contact Belinda with Chagrin’. The gnome returns with a bag of the queen’s replete munificence and finds Belinda in Thalestris’s arms. Thalestris, one other character virginal to the poem as of but, was the implied queen of the Amazons. It’s recommended that Umbriel points all of the vile contents of the bag over them each, after which commences a menagerie, a pell-mell of swift comedian motion that might broadcast itself majestically within the fifth canto. Thalestris brandishes a violent, pugnacious speech below the supernatural affect and reprimands Belinda for her flimsy, helpless perspective. Then, we’re launched to Sir Plume, who speaks naught however uncivil claptrap, twaddle and nonsense. Sir George Brown, the person after whom the character was framed, took nice offense and could not bear that Sir Plume would spew nothing however nonsense and gibberish.

Then the baron comes forth and reinforces his declare to the lock, and destines it as his without end. Umbriel, wicked gnome, units himself to motion as soon as once more as he breaks the vial of Sorrows after which the depressing, doleful nymph, Belinda, steals the cynosure. She curses the day, curses Hampton-court, and curses her want for self-importance that snatched her finest, her favourite lock away. She’s reminded of portending omens, and evinces regret at not paying them their due heed, and eventually, she sums it with an innuendo that –
‘Oh hadst thou merciless! Been content material to grab,
Hairs much less in sight, or any hairs however these!’

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