Rape Of The Lock

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Alexander Pope?s Rape of the Lock is a satirical mock-epic poem written with the hope of extinguishing a feud between two aristocratic families through laughter. In 1711, the twenty-one year old Robert, Lord Petre (The Baron), had deviously cut a lock of hair from the head of the beautiful Arabella Fermor (Belinda), whom he had been courting. Fermor took offense, and a quarrel developed between the two families. Pope writes of a beautiful woman named Belinda, whose precious lock of hair is taken from her because she is so vain. Belinda victimizes herself through her vanity, which Pope shows is his portrayal of her actions to prepare for the day. Belinda also victimizes herself by closing her ears to her guardian Sylphs, who repeatedly warn her of the danger that lies ahead.

Webster Dictionary defines vain as ? one who is excessively proud of or concerned about one?s own appearance or achievements.?

With that definition in mind, one may view Belinda as vain. There are many instances where Pope exemplifies Belinda?s vanity. As a result of being vain, she victimizes herself through her beauty. Pope wants us to recognize that it is partly because she has been educated and trained to act in this way. He expresses her magnificent beauty through a comparison that her eyes eclipse the sun. He reverently describes her morning rituals before the mirror in the following lines: ?A heavenly image in the glass appears/To that she bends to that her eyes she rears?(1:125-6). Belinda is transfixed by her own reflection, and captivated by her god-like beauty. She becomes a victim of the spell that her appearance weaves over others. Pope also uses Belinda as an example of humorous vanity, because no levelheaded women would indulge in such energy for their physical appearance. His portrayal...