The traditional style of an epic is conveyed in its tone and structure. Epic poems are structured in such a way that they include heroic rhyming schemes, heroic similes, and lengthy, formal speeches. The heroic-couplet, which rhymes the pairs in the form of iambic pentameters, is what makes up the heroic-rhyming scheme. This form of couplet produces a kind of melodious appreciation of the text. It was immensely popular amongst the different epics written throughout history to employ a serious tone to the poem through rhyming. However, it was utilized by Alexander Pope, in The Rape of the Lock, to create a lighthearted mock-epic, which pokes fun at the 18th century society in which he lived. The “trivial” is made apparent in the opening couplet of the poem: “What dire offence from am’rous causes springs, / What mighty contests rise from trivial things” (Canto I, 1-2). The first line i...
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...Fair Tresses of Man’s Imperial Race insnare, / And Beauty draws us with a single Hair” (Canto II, 27-28); the lock’s “transcendent beauty and power, Pope insinuates, is partly another make-believe in the eyes of Belinda’s vanity” (Cunningham, 58). Only after Belinda realizes that her hair is immortalized and will still be the envy of everyone is she satiated and happy again; proving that trivial matters are what fuels this society.
Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary Of Literary Terms And Literary Theory. 4th ed. USA: Penguin Books, 2000. Print.
Cunningham, J.S. Pope: The Rape of the Lock. London, UK: Edward Arnold LTD, 1961. Print.
Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock. Ed. Elizabeth Gurr. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.
Pope, Alexander. The Rape of the Lock. Ed. J.S Cunningham. London, UK: Oxford University Press, 1966. Print.
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