Essay on The Mock-Epic and The Rape Of The Lock

Essay on The Mock-Epic and The Rape Of The Lock

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The Mock-Epic and The Rape Of The Lock


The argument can be made that the purpose of the Rape of the Lock is to attack the vanity of women. Pope states this directly in his dedication to Arabella – “to laugh at their sex’s little unguarded Follies,” and the author’s use of the mock-epic seems to reinforce this purpose through its comparison of the epic odyssey to trivial events. In this comparison there can also be found a description of the relationship between the sexes not as a mutual co-existence but rather as a war with both sexes constantly striving for supremacy. If this is true, then we must condemn the society in which Pope lived rather than female vanity. I will look at the effects of Pope’s use of the mock-epic in relation to the passage at the end of Canto I which describes Belinda’s making herself up, and also in relation to critical extract 2, which seems to me to be a poorly founded criticism of The Rape Of The Lock.



In the passage beginning "And now, unveil’d, the Toilet stands display’d" (line 121) there are clear uses of the mock-epic in the combative description of Belinda’s self-adornment. The imagery of Belinda as a goddess beginning the "sacred rites of Pride" clearly serves to over-emphasise the importance of make up ...


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...rks Cited and Consulted:

A Choice Of Pope's Verse, edited by Peter Porter, Faber & Faber, 1971

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

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