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The Rape of the Lock

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Nicole Goldspink

on 18 March 2013

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Transcript of The Rape of the Lock

Alexander Pope's:
The Rape of the Lock Presentation by
Nicole Goldspink Summary of The Rape
of the Lock Classroom Connections Rhetoric Persona Favorite Quotes: Canto Three Canto 1 Canto 2 Alexander Pope Famous Poetry Career Background
Pope received instant fame after publishing his poem, 'pastorals' in 1709. in 1711 he, along with John Gay, Johnathon Swift, Thomas Parnell and John Arbuthnot began a literary club called the Scriblerus Club. Most of Pope's fame and fortune came from translating Homer's 'Iliad', which took him five years! From this wealth, he was able to move to Twickenham in 1719. Here, he created his (now) world famous Grotto and Gardens. An Essay on Critism- 1711
The Rape of the Lock is a Mock-Heroic Satire of a minor incident, an exaggeration of the incident to epic standards. Pope's satire is based on a true event that occurred between Lord Petre and Arabella Fermor, an incident that Pope's friend John Caryll witnessed. Throughout the poem, Pope reduces his mock epic standards of God's and Goddesses to miniature spirits called sylph's, and makes an epic out of the "incident", by comparing it to kidnapping of Helen of Troy. "What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,/What mighty contests rise from trivial things," (Lines 1-2). Canto One sets the subject matter up for the readers, with a prayer or invocation to the muses. It starts as everyone begins to rise for the day, except for Belinda, who dreams of a handsome young man. "The morning-dream that hover'd o'er her head;/ A Youth more glitt'ring than a Birth-night Beau,/(That even in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)" (22-24). In her dream, the man tells Belinda that she is guarded by many sylph's and of how slyph's are born. At the end of her dream, which we find out was sent to Belinda from Ariel (her guardian Sylph), warns Belinda of a "...dread event impend," (109) and that she needs to be wary, but most importantly "...Beware of all, but most beware of Man!" (114). From here, Pope goes on to describe every minute detail involved in readying belinda for her day, by going through her "toilet" (toilette). He makes Belinda out to be a Goddess and how beautiful she is.
Canto Two begins with Belinda boarding a boat, among other men and woman of highclass, as well as Belinda's admirer, who hopes to steal a lock of her hair. "He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd./ Resolv'd to win, he mediates the way,/ By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;" (30-32). He wishes and prays that he be granted this gift. All the while, the Sylph's are guarding Belinda for the impending incident that Ariel feels coming. "With beating hearts, the dire event they wait,/ Anxious, and trembling for the birth of Fate." (141-142). In Canto Three, we move from the boat to the Hampton Palace. Here Belinda begins to gossip with her friends about political matters, about Balls or visitors and other things of unimportance, only taking the time to break for "snuff" or to fan themselves. Afternoon arrives, Belinda decides she wants to play cards with the Baron and another man. Pope makes the card game out to be some kind of epic battle, and in the end, Belinda wins. While coffee is being served after the game, the Baron strikes on inspiration and new strategies to gain the lock of hair. Suddenly, Clarissa, whom I think is smitten with the Baron produces the scissors in which he uses. He attempts to cut the lock three different times, but his attempts are foiled by the Sylph's each time. "A thousand wings, by turns, blow back the hair;/ and thrice they twitched the diamond in her ear;/ Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the foe drew near." (136-138). Finally, on his fourth attempt, the Baron succeeds in cutting the lock, as well Ariel, in half. "The meeting points the sacred hair dissever/From the fair head, for ever, and for ever!/ Then flash'd the living lightning from her eyes,/ And screams of horror rend the' affrighted skies" (152-156). Pope uses many forms of rhetoric in The Rape of the Lock. In fact, this entire poem is basically one huge hyperbole, exaggerating the ordinary, making them extraordinary and spectacular. In addition to Hyperbole, Pope also uses personification, as when he referes to the locks of hair. "This Nymph, to the destruction of mankind,/ Nourish'd two Locks, which graceful hung behind/ In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck/With shining ringlets the smooth iv'ry neck (Canto II 19-22). There is also a few instances of alliteration as apparent in the first Canto. "Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,/ Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive" (101-102). I also found an example of a similie; "And, like the sun, they shine on all alike" (Canto II, 14).
The persona of The Rape of the Lock is unclear, it seems to be told by Pope in the beginning, then shifts with each character that is introduced, from Ariel to the Baron, and back to Pope in the end (when telling the readers to trust in the Muse). "Oft she rejects, but never once offends" (II line 12)
"One speaks the glory of the British Queen,/ And one describes a charming Indian screen;/ A third interprets motions, looks, and eyes; At ev'ry word a reputation dies. (III 13-16)
"And burn in Cupid's flames- but burn alive!" (V 102) Alexander Pope was born in 1646 to a Catholic family, father Alexander Sr. and mother Edith Turner. Because of the Test Act during his educational years, Pope attended illegal Catholic Schools in 1699-1700. After this time, Pope began educating himself by reading Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dryden. He became acquaintance with many people in London's Literary society, who helped Pope flourish as a writer. Pope never married, mostly because he was ostracized for being Catholic, as well as numerous health problems including Potts disease and Tuberculosis, furthering his pariah status. Dunciad 1729 and Moral Essays 1731-1735 (consisting of Epistle to Burlington, Epistle to Cobham, Epistle to a Lady, and Epistle to Bathurst)
An Essay on Man 1732-1734
The Rape of the Lock 1712 Canto Four In canto Four, an Earth Spirit (Gnome) named Umbriel decides to travel to the Cave of Spleen, where he prays to the Queen of Spleen to give Belinda anger, tears and other female emotions. The queen gives Umbriel a bag full of "Sighs, sobs, and passions, and the war of tongues," (84) as well as a vial filled "...with fainting fears,/ Soft sorrows, melting griefs, and flowing tears" (85-86). Umbriel returns to find Belinda in the arms of Thalestris, and dumps the contents of the bag on both. All the emotions from the bag and the vial fill up Belinda and Thalestris and come pouring out of Belinda's mouth. Canto Five In this last canto, People of the Court are very moved by Belinda's grief and anger, and demand that the Baron return the Lock, but he refuses. Clarissa tries to get everyone to see the humor in the situation but is all but ignored. Eventually, Belinda and the Baron begin to 'battle', one in which Belinda wins (again). She at once demands her lock back, but finds that it has been lost in the chaos of the battle. Pope ends this satire by immortalizing Belinda and complimenting her vanity (therefore Arabella Fermor, as well as giving himself credit) by divulging the location of the lock of hair. "But trust the Muse-she saw it upward rise,/ Tho' mark'd by none but quick, poetic eyes:/ (So Rome's great founder to the heav'ns withdrew,/ To Proculus alnoe confess'd in view)/ A sudden Star, it shot thro' liquid air,/ And dre behind a radiant trail of hair (123-128)...When, after millions slain, yourself shall die:/ When those fair suns shall set, as set they must,/ And all those tresses shall be laid in dust,/ This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,/ And 'midst the stars inscribe Belinda's name" (146-150). References: http://www.gradesaver.com/popes-poems-and-prose/study-guide/section1/
Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock and Other Poems . Public Domain Book, edited with introduction and notes by Thomas Marc Parrott. Edition Published 1906 . Characters Belinda: Young lady, with very nice hair, two locks in particular. Satirizes Arabelle Fermor.
The Baron: Admiror of Belinda who plotted to cut off her two locks of hair. Representative of Lord Petre.
Ariel:Belinda's guardian sylph
Clarissa: Catalyst for the "incident"; young lady who gave the Baron the scissors.
Umbriel:Spirit who travels to the Cave of Spleens to seek help for Belinda.
Queen of Spleen: Goddess who gives Umbriel gifts for Belinda.
Thalestris: Friend of Belinda, urges Sir Plume to defend Belinda's honor.
Sir Plume:Friend of Thalestris, scolds the Baron
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