The Rape of the Lock. Alexander Pope. Pope and His Times. Pope suffered prejudices due to his appearance Ill health, tuberculosis, asthma, headaches, stunted growth, hunchbacked Many characterized Pope as ill-tempered, critical and judgmental. Pope and His Times.
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The Rape of the Lock Alexander Pope
Pope and His Times • Pope suffered prejudices due to his appearance • Ill health, tuberculosis, asthma, headaches, stunted growth, hunchbacked • Many characterized Pope as ill-tempered, critical and judgmental
Pope and His Times • Pope was self-taught “did nothing but read and write” • Was friends with Swift and John Gay (famous poet) • By most accounts, Pope was a misogynist (so were most other men during the period) • During Popes time, many believed that women were only slightly human • Whether or not women had souls was a serious topic of conversation
Pope and His Times • During the 18th century, much traditional thinking was being challenged • Pope identified the poem as a: heroi-comical poem • Today known as a mock-epic (a form of satire)
Source of the Poem • Pope based the poem on real events between the noble Petre and Fermor families (a Petre family member cut a lock of hair from a Fermor lady) • Pope wrote the poem to satirize the absurdity and silliness of the feud that resulted from the event
Heroic and Mock Heroic Conventions • The fateful sea voyage • Invocation of the muse • Division of the poem into “books” or “cantos” • Descriptions of soldiers and preparations for battle • Descriptions of heroic deeds • Participation of deities and spirits in the action of the story
Heroic and Mock Heroic Conventions • Presentation of scenes from the underworld • High formal diction and language • Religious or spiritual rituals • Ascension of the dead hero into the heavens • Story begins in medias res • While extended similes in an epic elevate the story—in a mock epic they trivialize the elements of the story
Poetic Form, Figures of Speech, and Verse • The Rape of the Lock is written in heroic couplets (Chaucer’s poetic form) • Pairs of rhyming lines in iambic pentameter • The main figure of speech is hyperbole • Pope exaggerates for ridicule and humor • Other figures of speech include: personification, anaphora, alliteration, and extended similes, antithesis
Antithesis and Anaphora • Antithesis: Placing side by side, and in similar grammatical structures, strongly contrasting words, clauses sentences, or ideas • Ex: Accidentally on purpose. Agree to disagree. • Anaphora: The repetition of sequences of words at the beginning of neighboring clauses—lending emphasis • Ex: In time we will move. In time we will advance and in time we will prevail.
Question for Thought • Although mock-heroic poems are fun and humorous, they also serve as significant commentary on human behaviors, tendencies, flaws and more • What do you think is the central message of the story?
Paradise Lost Satan whispers a dream in Eve’s ear Eve fixates on her image in a pool of water Satan suffers in a lake of burning sulfur The Rape of the Lock Ariel whispers to Belinda about pride and vanity Belinda worships her own reflection in a mirror Ariel threatens the sylphs with burning chocolate A Few Allusions to Paradise Lost
Questions for Discussion • Select two mock-heroic elements from the poem and explain their significance • Find one example of irony in the poem and explain its purpose and significance • Discuss the distinctive elements of Pope’s writing style • Find two similes or metaphors and explain how they work well as mock-heroic elements
Belinda awakes from sleeping The dream of Belinda Belinda prepares for the day’s social activities Canto 1
The travel on the Thames river The prayer of the young adventurer Baron The Sylphs’ mission to “tend the Fair”—to protect Belinda Brillante—the earrings Chrispissa—the locks Ariel—Shock, Belinda’s lapdog Momentilla—the watch fifty chosen Sylphs—the petticoat Canto 2
The game of cards—ombre The rape of the lock Canto 3
Belinda’s Ill-Natured mood and Affection after the loss of the lock Umbriel, the earthy gnome, descends to the Cave of Spleen Thalestris’ speech rouses the rage of Belinda Sir Plume bids in vain the payment of the lock Canto 4
Clarissa’s speech The battle of belles and beaux The lock rises to the heaven and becomes a star Canto 5
Epic Mock epic Structure Writing Style
A long narrative poem Elevated, grand style Great heroes and heroines The setting is vast in geographical range Supernatural power Epic, the Characteristics
The theme is usually the adventure of a hero or a war. Invocate the Muse’s aid. (Calliope) Ask epic question(s). Begin with inmedias res. Use epithets and similes. Gods’ interference in human affairs. Epic Conventions
A work designed to ridicule attitudes, style, or subject matter by handling either an elevated subject in a trivial manner or a low subject with mock dignity (Karl 30). Renders a trivial subject ridiculous by treating it with the elaborate (Karl 31). Compare small things with something great. Mock Epic
Heroic couplet Rhymed in every two lines. Iambic pentameter Ten syllables in each line Alternate with stressed and unstressed syllables Structure