Epic Conventions In Rape Of The Lock English Literature Essay

The Rape of the Lock is a mock heroic poem verse form written by Alexander Pope who was one of the most influential authors of the 18th century. Alexander Pope was one of the best ironist of the Augustan age who besides aims to educate and entertain readers at the same clip. The Rape of the Lock was foremost published in the twelvemonth 1712 with merely two cantos. In the twelvemonth 1717 nevertheless the concluding signifier of this verse form was published and it had five cantos and in epic pair excessively. The verse form is based on a true narrative about two feuding blue households, the Petres and the Fermors. “ The immature Godhead Petre had cut a lock of hair from the caput of Arabella Fermor, a stylish immature society lady, and both she and her household had taken offense. Pope had been told of the incident by his Catholic friend John Caryll who asked if he could compose a verse form to do a joke of the division between the two households and express joy them together once more ” ( scribd ) .

The heroic poem verse form besides known as the heroic verse form tells a narrative of a hero whose actions are of great importance and have a national significance excessively. It is normally a long narrative verse form written in a expansive manner to accommodate its of import capable affair. Some of the illustrations of the heroic verse forms are Homer ‘s Iliad, John Milton ‘s Paradise Lost, King Arthur by Richard Blackmore, Joan of Arc by Robert Southey and Hyperion by Keats. Mock heroic poem verse form on the other manus is the lampoon of the serious heroic poem verse forms. It uses the construction of an heroic poem verse form where the linguistic communication is expansive but on illumination graduated table and the significance of the topic is fiddling. Mock-heroic poesy combines the features of assorted discourses such as heroic poem, comedy, lampoon and sarcasm. Alexander Catholic Pope uses the mock heroic manner in The Rape of the Lock is non to roast the heroic genre but to mock and satirise the stylish society of his clip.

In the beginning of an heroic poem verse form, the author normally invokes and supplications the Muse to afford him with Godhead encouragement to state the narrative of a great hero. Normally the author calls upon one of the “ nine girls of Zeus[ 1 ]“ ( home page ) to consecrate his poesy. The hero of an heroic poem verse form is ever a expansive figure of national importance or even cosmic significance. “ He frequently has superhuman or Godhead traits.A He has an enforcing physical stature and is greater in all ways than the common adult male ” ( home page ) . However in The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope invokes his Catholic friend John Caryll alternatively, as a Muse to supply him with approvals to narrate a narrative of non a great hero but a rich, conceited adult female called Belinda. Alexander Pope uses Belinda and the Baron as his chief characters in his verse form to jab merriment at the work forces and adult females of the blue households. Belinda is non a powerful hero but a beautiful immature adult female from a stylish society who has no other duties but looking presentable in forepart the society every twenty-four hours. For case Belinda merely wakes up about twelve o’clock, has a lapdog and retainers to dress her for every juncture.

“ Sol thro ‘ white Curtains shot a tim’rous Ray,

And op ‘d those Eyess that must overshadow the Day ;

Now Lapdogs give themselves the rowzing Shake,

And sleepless Lovers, merely at Twelve, awake:

Thrice rung the Bell, the Slipper knock ‘d the Ground,

And the imperativeness ‘d Watch return ‘d a silver Sound.

Belinda still her downy Pillow prest ” ( Pope ) .

Hence it is clear that Pope is satirising the stylish society for non being responsible and making things as they please. They waste money for they were rich and even needed amahs to look after them as though they were babies.

Following, in an heroic poem verse form a hero will acquire good prepared for a great conflict by armouring himself with concatenation mail, shield, blade, axes, stickers, bow and pointers. These arms and armour will non merely protect a hero but besides do his enemy fright of him. For illustration in Iliad the armament of Achilles by Thetis for the battlegrounds of Troy was described with great magnificence. Belinda on the other manus armours herself with beautiful brocade, makeups, Arabian aromas, and glistening Indian jewelleries and uses combs and pins made out of elephant ivories and tortoise shell in order to confront the upper-class society every twenty-four hours. She goes through the long procedure of fancifying herself with the aid of her amah Betty in order to look presentable and attractive to the immature work forces and do adult females covetous of her beauty.

“ The Tortoise here and Elephant unite,

Transform ‘d to Comb, the speckled and the white.

Here Files of Pins extend their polishing Rows,

Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.

Now atrocious Beauty puts on all its Weaponries ;

The Fair each minute rises in her Appeals,

Repairs her Smiles, awakens ev’ry Grace,

And calls Forth all the Wonders of her Face ;

Sees by Degrees a purer Blush arise,

And keener Lightnings quicken in her Eyess ” . ( Pope )

In these lines of The Rape of the Lock, Pope mocks the amour propre of the stylish society, where they put a batch of importance in physical beauty instead than rational. They spend several hours in forepart of their mirrors fixing themselves as though they were acquiring ready for a great besieging ; but in world they were merely traveling to run into their friends and have fun. Belinda in The Rape of the Lock went through the long backbreaking dressing up session merely to run into up her friends and play a card game of ombre and pull possible suers. In the verse form Pope even states that when a individual looks at Belinda ‘s beautiful face all her mistakes will run away farther accenting that beauty is far more valuable than cognition for the blue bloods of his clip. “ Yet graceful easiness and sweetness nothingness of pride Might conceal her mistakes, if belles had mistakes to conceal ; If to her portion come female mistakes autumn ” ( Pope ) .

In an heroic poem poem the hero ever prays at his communion table to have approvals from Gods and goddesses such as “ Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Aries, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis and Hephaestus ” ( GreekMythology ) in order to win in everything they wished for. For illustration Odysseus prays to the goddess Athena[ 2 ]so that he could eventually return to his married woman and boy once more after old ages of conflict. In The Rape of the Lock on the other manus we find that Belinda worships and admires her ain celestial image in forepart of the mirror every twenty-four hours. Her amah so becomes the priestess who, execute fancifying rites twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours for her. Alternatively of Gods and goddesses, Belinda ‘s communion table is filled with “ Files of Pins extend their polishing Rows, Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux ” ( Pope ) . However Baron keeps supporters, baseball mitts, love letters and trophies from his former lovers on his communion table. Now he plans to add Belinda ‘s lock in his aggregation at the communion table every bit good. In these lines of the verse form, Pope seems to state that faith and religion for the adult females and work forces from the upper category is undistinguished. They treasure their beauty and stuff material manner higher than instruction, faith and morality. For Belinda, the Bible is merely an unimportant object placed among on her brand ups and love letters. Further more in canto two of The Rape of the Lock, we can see that Belinda wears a cross around her cervix as a piece of jewellery and non on act of piety. “ On her white Breast a twinkle Cross she wore, which Jews might snog, and Infidels adore ” ( Pope ) .

The Godhead characters in heroic poesy are household of Gods populating Mount Olympus who intervene frequently in lives of worlds detecting and act uponing their lives and determinations. They help steer worlds who are in problem both physically and psychologically particularly in great conflicts. The Gods sense that it is their duty to acquire involved if they feel that adult male is going off class from his fate. These powerful characters are termed as heroic poem machineries. For illustration in Homer ‘s Odysseys Zeus helped Odysseus to get away from the island of Ogygia where Odysseus was a captive for seven old ages. On the contrary, in Pope ‘s The Rape of the Lock, Belinda was aided by dwellers of the air such as faeries, dwarfs, nymphs, sylphs and salamanders. Belinda receives particular attending from the sylphs. These charming animals in the verse form did non help her in conflict but helped Belinda look beautiful and respectable the whole twenty-four hours. Each sylph assigns themselves to protect her hair, frock, make-up, jewelleries, her lap Canis familiaris Shock and most significantly her half-slip for Ariel[ 3 ]hold “ saw, alas, some awful event impend ” ( Pope ) . Ariel did warn Belinda beforehand but she forgot all about it the minute she saw her “ Billet-doux ” ( Pope ) . So now it is up to them to protect her visual aspect and her award.

“ He spoke ; the Liquors from the Sails descend ;

Some, Orb in Orb, around the Nymph extend,

Some thrid the labyrinthine Ringlets of her Hair,

Some bent upon the Pendants of her Ear ;

With whipping Hearts the desperate Event they wait,

Anxious, and trembling for the Birth of Fate ” ( Pope ) .

In heroic verse forms such as The odyssey and The Aeneid, both Odysseus and Aeneas travelled the seas for of import missions and encountered many hazards on the manner. Pope In The Rape of the Lock lampoons these heroic poems by Belinda travels up the Thames River in a boat to Hampton Court to play the game of ombre with her friends of same societal position.

“ Where Thames with Pride surveys his lifting Tow’rs,

There stands a Structure of Majestick Frame,

Which from the neighb’ring Hampton takes its Name ” ( Pope ) .

Following Pope besides, parodies the conflicts portrayed in epic poesy in his verse form The Rape of the Lock. In the heroic poem verse form Beowulf, Beowulf had to confront three conflicts with terrorizing animals in order to salvage guiltless lives. In The Rape of the Lock, Belinda ‘s game of ombre with her friends was portrayed as war by Pope. The cards where depicted as warriors and words such as military personnels, combat, war, invade and ground forcess where used by Pope to depict and escalate the tenseness during a game of ombre between Belinda and her blue friends who took the game earnestly. Even the charming animals get themselves involve in the game so that Belinda wins the game.

“ Therefore far both Armies to Belinda output ;

Now to the Baron Fate inclines the Field.

His warlike Amazon her Host invades,

Th ‘ Imperial Consort of the Crown of Spades.

The Club ‘s black Tyrant first her Victim ” ( Pope ) .

Subsequently in the verse form, when the Baron had cut off one of Belinda ‘s lock, a big statement ensued which was besides portrayed as conflict by Alexander Pope. Alternatively of arms, shriek, scowls, poniards and unsafe stare where used during the immense statement between Belinda and the Baron.

“ Then blink ‘d the life Lightnings from her Eyess,

And Screams of Horror rend Thursday ‘ affrighted Skies.

Not louder Shrieks to feel foring Heav’n are cast ” ( Pope ) .

The game of ombre and the battle after Belinda ‘s lock got cut off were exaggerated in The Rape of the Lock, because Pope wanted to indicate out that the upper category society respects earnestly about them when in world they are fiddling affairs. Because undistinguished affairs are taken excessively earnestly, the Petres and the Fermors split and this verse form was to demo them how silly they were.

In decision Alexander Pope most decidedly used the heroic conventions for satiric intent in his verse form The Rape of the Lock particularly to mock the blue bloods, their life styles and their perceptual experiences. Since Alexander Catholic Pope is Augustan adult male, he wrote this verse form utilizing the heroic poem conventions to overstate the absurdity of the upper category society so that readers will non merely laugh at the sarcasms in the verse form but will besides larn and alter for the better.

Work cited

Hamilton, Edith. “ The Olympians ” . GreekMythology.com. 1 April 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.greekmythology.com/ & gt ; .

Leadbetter, Ron. “ Zeus ” . Encyclopedia Mythicaa„? . 2 April 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.pantheon.org/articles/z/zeus.html & gt ; .

Effinger, Sandra. “ The Epic ” . homepage.mac.com. 3 April 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //homepage.mac.com/mseffie/assignments/beowulf/epic.html & gt ; .

“ The Rape of the Lock “ . scribd.com. 3 April 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.scribd.com/doc/13071844/The-Rape-of-the-Lock & gt ; .

Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems. London: Signet Classic Poetry Series, 1906.

Michael, Cummings. “ The Rape of the Lock: A Study Guide ” . cummingsstudyguides.net. 4 April 2010 & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides2/Pope.html & gt ; .

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