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Presentation of The Rape of The Lock

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on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of Presentation of The Rape of The Lock

The Rape of The Lock
Alexander Pope
Biography
1688-1744
Roman Catholic
Catholics oppressed
Sickly and undersized
Died of asthma and edema
Alexander Pope
translated raw material
into brilliant poetry.
"If Pope not a poet, where is poetry to be found?"
-Samuel Johnson
"Never has so great a poem emerged from such a trivial cause. The stolen hair has achieved mortality."
Arabella Fermor
1696-1737
Physical Deformity
Formally painted by many great artists of the 18th Century, Pope never allowed his deformity to be shown.
Most paintings emphasize his intelligent face and the writing he was famous for, placing him in a meditative posture.
Public Image
This is the Only Image that shows his entire body. This Sketch is by William Hoare (c.1739-1743)



As a Boy, he had Pott’s disease, which left him hunchbacked, stunted and chronically ill.
Like his religion, his body marked him as an outsider, he was sensitive to the dislocations of each.
His body was both a source of inspiration and disappointment


So,
What to Expect for his relations with Women !
Feminism
Reader Response
Morality
&
Society

Religion
18th Century
Samuel Johnson pronounced it “the most attractive of ludicrous compositions,” in which “New things are made familiar and familiar things are made new.”
1- Fusing high humor and moralization, The Rape of the Lock offers an ironic perspective on contemporary manners combined with a deep appreciation for the vitality of the eighteenth-century beau monde. With sensitivity, exquisite taste, high-spirited wit, and gentle satire, the poem forces a continuous comparison between insignificant and significant things, between the mundane and the exotic. In his mock epic, Pope exploits the difference between the grandeur of “heroic” moments depicted in traditional epics and the consciously trivial events in his poem.
2- The poem features the devices of traditional epic poetry in abundant allusions to and parodies of incidents, characters, and themes from a range of classical and modern epics, but these themes are proportionately scaled down.


3- In The Rape of the Lock, ladies and gentlemen are the heroines and heroes, exchanging repartee with the opposite sex in salons instead of waging war against noble enemies on fields of combat. Rather than gods and goddesses intruding in human affairs, sylphs and gnomes intervene.
Combs, pins, and cosmetics take the place of weapons
as “awful Beauty puts on all its arms.” Belinda herself is described as a “goddess,” looking at her “heavenly image” in the mirror:

And now, unveil’d, the Toilet stands display’
Each Silver Vase in mystic Order laid.
First, rob’d in White, the Nymph intent adores
With Head uncover’d, the Cosmetic Pow’rs.
A heav’nly Image in the Glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her Eyes, she rears;
Th’inferior Priestess, at her Altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred Rites of Pride.
(121-128)

He builds an altar—a feature of both pagan and Christian worship—to celebrate Belinda’s beauty. On the altar the Baron places “twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt” to honor Love, rather than gilded Bibles (38).
Society has proved to be vain, frivolous, wasteful , lazy, and shallow.
The poem shows the vanities of humankind. Pope enumerates coquettish vanities. People’s “love of ombre,” indicates a desire for fashionable entertainment (56). Through this love of finery and these trivial pastimes, Pope depicts a society that emphasizes appearances rather than moral principles.
Clarissa observes that beauty is ephemeral: “Curled or uncurled, since locks will turn to gray; / Since Painted, or not painted all shall fade” (26-7). Because “frail beauty must decay,” women must have other qualities, good sense in particular, to guide them after beauty fades (25).
Her advice advocates the use of reason in all matters of life.
Invocation of the Muse
Division of the poem into Books or Cantos.
Descriptions of Soldiers Preparing for Battle: In 'The Illiad,' Homer describes the armor and weaponry of the great Achilles; Pope describes Belinda preparing herself with combs and pins - 'Puffs, powders, patches-.
Descriptions of Heroic Deeds: In 'The Illiad,' Homer describes the exploits of his heroes during the Trojan War, while Pope describes the exploits of Belinda and the Baron during a card game called Ombr. Pope describes the game as a battle: the three players’ hands are “three bands [prepared] in arms,” troops sent to “combat on the velvet plain” of the card table (29, 44). Like the commander of an army, Belinda reviews her cards, declares spades trumps, and sends her cards into combat. Unlike the ten years of violent combat over Troy in The Iliad, however this evening’s card game is the pastime of young aristocrats.
Account of a Great Sea Vogaye: In 'The Odyssey,' Ulysses travels the seas between Troy and Greece; in 'The Rape of the Lock,' Belinda travels up the Thames in a boat.

Canto I, "puffs, powder, patches, bibles, billet-doux"


Singh states, 'The line Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles and Billet-doux' is usually interpreted to mean that the confusion of objects on her dressing table is an embodiment of the confusion that exists in her own values"(Singh 479).
Belinda is the victim, the Baron is the criminal
"Let Wreaths of triumph now my temples twine
(The victor cried) the glorious prize is mine!" (III, 161-162).
Parading her physical features
Pope writes, "If to her share some female errors fall,/ Look on her face, and you’ll forget ‘em all" (2.17-8).
“Weighs the men’s wits against lady’s hair”.
No female character development
"And she who scorns a man must die a maid;
What then remains but well our power to use,
And keep good humor still whate’er we lose? (5.28-30).
The complicity of Clarissa in the severing of Belinda’s lock
The Rape of the Lock': A Parody of Classical Epics
The Rape of the Lock An Heroi-Comical Poem
This world of „cosmetic powers‟ (1: 124) is an arena of caskets, vials, and boxes. They contain perfumes, lotions, gel, pomatum, patches, rouge, lipsticks, ivory and tortoise shell combs and jewellery for every part of the body such as pins, pendant, brooches, necklace, bodkins, rings, earrings.
Belinda is armed with "Files of Pins " that " extend their shining Rows" and regiments of "Puffs, Powder, Patches, Bibles, [ and] Billet-doux" (1.137-38). Belinda is protected by her petticoats - a " sev'nfold Fence," (2.119-20).


Canto III contains the epic digression of the Games , followed by the fatal attack on the lock that forces Belinda (as Achilles was forced by the death of Patroclus ) to take arms and rally her troops against the sea of trouble stirred up by he r attacker. Just then Clarissa drew with tempting Grace
A two-edg’d Weapon from her shining Case
(127-8)
This ‘weapon’ becomes, variously, ‘the little Engine’ (132); ‘the glitt’ring Forfex’ (147); ‘the fatal engine’ (149); ‘the Sheers’ (151); and with wonderful epic overstatement, eventually, ‘The conqu’ring Force of unresisted Steel’ (178).

Canto V is the final battle:

Fans clap, Silks rustle , and tough Whalebones crack;
Heroes ' and Heroines ' shouts confus'dly rise,
And bass and treble Voices strike the Skies.
No common Weapons in their Hands are found;
Like Gods they fight, nor dread a mortal Wound.

(5.40-44)

Using a humorous way, similar conventions and formulas as the classical epic employed, 'The Rape of the Lock' parodies the traditions of ancient history: the abduction of Helen of Troy becomes here the theft of a lock of hair; the gods are represented as minute sylphs and the description of Achille's shield turns into a digression on one of Belinda's petticoats.
Pope realizes the severity of the problem and recognizes the importance of hair to a woman, in his poem, "Epistle to a Lady" he writes, "Most women have no Character at all. Matter too soft for a lasting mark to bear, And best distinguish'd by black, brown, or fair,"(2-4).
The Lock As A Symbol
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfixed as those:
Favours to non, to all she smiles extends,
Oft she rejects, but never once offends. (I, 6 -12)

it becomes a symbol of Everywoman's Otherness"
(Singh 482)
The poem’s comic attitude towards religion implies that the worship of beauty amounts to sacrilege. By subverting established principles of religious worship, Pope critiques society’s willingness to value appearances and other insignificant matters over a moral lifestyle.
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