Rape of the Lock Analysis Essay Sample

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When writing The Rape of the Lock Pope’s main purpose was to create a story that laughed two feuding families back together, yet in the process he accomplished not only a comical poem, but also insight into the reality of the social elitists lifestyle and revealed their true personalities. In The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope makes fun of the narcissistic upper class, primarily the main character Belinda, through mock epic, and brings a deeper meaning to simple couplets by using literary rhyming schemes that help the reader better grasp what is going on in only a couple words. Canto I, lines 127-128 states:

Th’inferior Priestess, at her Alter’s side,
Trembling, begins the sacred Rites of Pride.

Throughout the poem Pope ridicules upper class society and the trivial things their world seems to revolve around, as is presented in this couplet. Instead of describing a hero worshipping something significant, he describes a self-obsessed woman worshipping herself in a mirror. The Priestess being described is Belinda, because the image of herself in the mirror is the Goddess that she serves. Therefore the inferior Priestess is referring to her maid. The altar that she is standing beside is her vanity. A typical person’s altar usually holds something important to their religion such as crucifixes or something symbolic such as bread and wine, as in the Christian religion. However Belinda’s altar not only displays a mirror with her reflection but combs and powders, items that don’t help her worship a higher being but items that transform her into the higher being she worships so dearly, herself.

As opposed to an epic where the main character is selfless, heroic, and is always looking out for of the greater good of others, Pope mocking this theme makes his main character reflect the opposite characteristics. Although the writing style Pope uses is consequential to the poem, it is the modest connection he makes between simple words that expands the meaning to the couplets. The rhyme between the two words at the end lines, side and pride, have an important correlation. If these two words were the only things taken out of this couplet the reader would still have an idea regarding what is going on. At the side of something is pride. Pride can be seen as self-importance and arrogance, which are ideal words to describe Belinda’s personality. Pope aids the reader in figuring out what he is describing by underlying the meaning into just two words.

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