Contrast Between Satire in The Rape Of The Lock and A Modest Proposal

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Contrast Between Satire in The Rape Of The Lock and A Modest Proposal Although Alexander Pope's, "The Rape Of The Lock" and Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" are both witty satires, they differ on their style, intention, and mood. To begin, in "The Rape Of The Lock," Alexander Pope uses Horation satire to invoke a light, whimsical, melancholy mood to illustrate the absurdity of fighting over the cutting of one's hair. In fact, Horation satire is defined by K. Lukes as a device that is: " urban, smiling, witty" and "seeks to correct the human foibles." and is further reiterated in The Concise Oxford Dictionary Of Literary terms as: "Horation satire, often contrasted with the bitterness of Juvenalian satire, is a more indulgent, tolerant treatment of human inconsistencies and follies, ironically amused rather than outraged" (101). Thus, Alexander Pope's intentions in writing "The Rape Of The Lock" was to turn an actual incident in which: "A young man Lord Petre, had sportively cut off a lock of a Miss Arabella Fermor's hair,"(Poetry, 211) into "jest ... so that good relations (and possibly negotiations toward a marriage between principals) might be resumed" (Poetry, 211) This type of satire is conveyed through Pope's use of mock epic form. This satire first begins with Pope's invocation to the muses, a higher power, emphasizing that the tragedy about to occur is above mere worldly issues, and a debate that belongs amongst the gods. Hence, Pope writes: "What dire offense from amorous causes springs, / What mighty contests rise from trivial things, I sing-This verse to Caryll, Muse! is due" (English,1110). It is comical that the "dire offense" is the cutting of Belinda's hair rather than a life-threatening... ... middle of paper ... ...gh a twisted, absurd, fictitious proposal to condemn their actions, and thus, hopes to "shock" those involved into social change. WORKS CITED Allison, Barrows, Blake, et al. eds. The Norton Anthology Of Poetry . 3rd Shorter ed. New York: Norton, 1983. 211. Baldick, Chris. The Concise Oxford Dictionary Of Literary Terms , New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Lukes, K. B.A. (Hons.) (Alberta), M.A. (Brit. Col.), English. English 424 Section:3 Term 93/3 Class Lectures Sept. 1993 Pope, Alexander. "The Rape Of The Lock". In The Norton Anthology Of English Literature: The Major Authors . Ed. M.H. Abrams et al. 5th Ed. New York: Norton, 1987. 1108-1128 Swift, Jonathan. "A Modest Proposal". In The Norton Anthology Of English Literature: The Major Authors. Ed. M.H. Abrams et al. 5th ed. New York: Norton, 1987. 1078-1085

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