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The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

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1 The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

2 About Alexander Pope Suffered from prejudices Educated in Twyford
※Born in a Catholic family Suffered from prejudices Educated in Twyford

3 About Alexander Pope ※Moved to Binfield in 1700
Self-taught: “did nothing but read and write” Suffered from ill health: tuberculosis, asthma, and headaches

4 About Alexander Pope ※Moved to Binfield in 1700
Humpbacked and deformed

5 About Alexander Pope ※Published An Essay on Criticism in 1711
First striking success as a poet ※ Made friends with Jonathan Swift and John Gay

6 About Alexander Pope ※Published an early version of “The Rape of the Lock” in 1712 (two cantos) A funny battle between sexes and follies of a young lady

7 About Alexander Pope ◎ Characters:
※ Expanded “The Rape of the Lock” in 1714 (five cantos) A quarrel between two families ◎ Characters: Lord Petre :Baron Miss Arabella Fermor: Belinda

8 About Alexander Pope ◎Background: ◎ Pope’s purpose:
John Caryll’s suggestion to “pour poetic oils on these troubled waters” or Hope that “a little laughter might serve to soothe ruffled tempers.” ◎ Pope’s purpose: Do not worry about trivial things!

9 About Alexander Pope ※Translated Iliad and Odyssey into English
The first man to prove “Literature can raise writers.”

10 About Alexander Pope ※Published The Dunciad in 1728
Became professional satirist “Sleepless themselves to give their readers sleep”

11 About Alexander Pope ※ Died on May 30, 1744 The “Age of Pope” ended

12 Summary


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


16 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


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


20 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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