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The Rape of the Lock

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by

Stephanie Womick

on 11 April 2013

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Transcript of The Rape of the Lock

The Rape of the Lock Literary Terms Mock-epic: "a lengthy poem written in the lofty and exalted style of the epic but that deals with an utterly trivial subject" (267). zeugma: "a rhetorical figure that generally refers to a grammatical structure...usually involves several nouns that govern or are the objects of a single verb....to suggest subtle but significant parallels between things commonly differentiated or subtle but significant differences between things commonly equated" (501). heroic couplet: "a pair of rhymed lines written in iambic pentameter....tended to be composed of closed couplets, each of which comprised a complete grammatical unit expressing a complete thought" (199). How is "The Rape of the Lock" a mock-epic? What contributes to its "lofty and exalted style"? What is being mocked? "Here thou, great Anna! whom three realms obey,
Dost sometimes counsel take--and sometimes tea" (III.7-8)

"Not louder shrieks to pitying heaven are cast,
When husbands or when lapdogs breathe their last" (III.157-158) Some features of mock-epic:
diminution: "maidenhead is reduced to a lock
of hair and warfare to a game of cards"
"Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites,/ Burns to encounter two adventurous knights./ At ombre singly to decide their doom,/ And swells her breast with conquests yet to come" (III. 25-28)
collapsing of differences of value and scale.
Notice that Belinda seems to make no distinction between the things on her dressing table: “Here files of pins extend their shining rows, / puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux” (I.137-138) Heroic couplets are often seen as very formal and rigid. Is this the case with Pope's heroic couplets? How is he adapting the form? Quotes
While considering your quote, think about what Pope is saying about his culture, about gender and social class.
Also, consider how the quote reflect his style: mock-epic, heroic couplets, zeugma?
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