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The Rape of the Lock Alexander Pope.

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1 The Rape of the Lock Alexander Pope

2 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

3 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

4 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)

5 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

6 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

7 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

8 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

9 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.

10 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?

11 A Few Allusions to 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

12 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

13 Summary


15 Canto 1 Belinda awakes from sleeping The dream of Belinda
Belinda prepares for the day’s social activities


17 Canto 2 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


19 Canto 3 The game of cards—ombre The rape of the lock


21 Canto 4 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

22 Canto 5 Clarissa’s speech The battle of belles and beaux
The lock rises to the heaven and becomes a star


24 Writing Style Epic Mock epic Structure

25 Epic, the Characteristics
A long narrative poem Elevated, grand style Great heroes and heroines The setting is vast in geographical range Supernatural power

26 Epic Conventions The theme is usually the adventure of a hero or a war. Invocate the Muse’s aid. (Calliope) Ask epic question(s). Begin with in medias res. Use epithets and similes. Gods’ interference in human affairs.

27 Mock Epic 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.

28 Epic/ Mock Epic Traditional Epic The Rape of the Lock
Invoke the aid of the muse: Calliope “ Say what strange motive, Goddess! Could compel” (1. 7) Begin with in medias res No Gods are involved Spirits (Sylphs, Gnomes, Nymphs…) are involved

29 The Epic Question “Among the gods, who brought this quarrel on?” (Iliad) 1 What dire offense from amorous causes springs, What mighty contests rise from trivial things, 7 Say what strange motive, Goddess! Could compel A well-bred lord to assault a gentle belle? Oh, say what stranger cause, yet unexplored, Could make a gentle belle reject a lord? In tasks so bold can little men engage, And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?

30 Homeric Simile “Achilles, fast in battle as a lion.”
“Hera, whose arms are white as ivory.” “Quick as her eyes” (2. 10), “Bright as the sun” (2. 13), “Shrink his thin essence like a riveled flower” (2. 132), “And falls like thunder on the prostrate Ace” (3. 98).

31 Homeric Epithet “man-killer Hector” “sharp-eyed Hermes”
“Bolt-hurling Zeus” “Fair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her shone” (2. 5) “The long-contended honours of her head” (4.140) “Why round our coaches crowd the white-glov'd beaux?” (5. 13).

32 Structure Heroic couplet Rhymed in every two lines. Iambic pentameter
Ten syllables in each line Alternate with stressed and unstressed syllables

33 Mock Epic Journey to the underworld
The Cave of Spleen (ill nature of female hypochondriacs) (4. 1) Sacrifice offering to gods before an important war or journey Baron sacrifices his former love-token. (2.35)

34 Mock Epic Battle Cliches, frowns and angry glances, snuff and bodkin. “So spoke the dame, “ (5. 35). The card game (Ombre). Rape of the female chastity Rape of a lock of hair

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