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Home » , » Rape of the lock as a social satire

A form of satire uses humor to demonstrate that someone or something is stupid, weak, or bad; humor that highlights a person, government, society, etc.'s flaws or shortcomings. It is divided into Horatian and Juvenalian parts. Horatian satire deals with the situation in a lighthearted manner while Juvenalian satire is serious, harsh, and bitter. As a result, satire relies heavily on understatement, irony, sarcasm, and exaggeration.

The poem was inspired by a real-life incident that occurred between Arabella Fermor and Lord Petre, a suitor from an aristocratic Catholic family who refused to attend church. Petre's lust for Arabella led him to cut off a lock of her hair without her permission, which led to an argument that split the two families apart. When Pope was asked to write a poem to help families get back together, he took advantage of the opportunity to mock upper-class values and get rid of society's hollow values.

Alexander Pope wrote the narrative poem The Rape of the Lock, which mocks heroic heroism. A minor incident is compared to the epic gods' world in the poem as satire. Pope portrayed Arabella as the character Belinda and introduced a system of "sylphs," or guardian spirits of virgins, a parody of traditional epic gods and goddesses. Pope emphasized the incident's triviality in a manner reminiscent of classical epics. Here, the theft of a hair lock replaces the kidnapping of Helen of Troy. The gods were reduced to tiny sylphs. To imitate the actual speeches in Homer's Iliad, the poet employs the epic style of invocations, laments, exclamations, and similes as well as parody.

The behavior of young girls and boys, the nature of husbands and wives, justice and judges, fashionable ladies, queens, and friendship in a utopian society are all mocked by Pope in The Rape of Lock. However, the selected portion of canto 03 primarily mocks the spoiled young men and women of the aristocracy as well as the hollow values of fashionable women and aristocratic men.

Pope makes fun of the women's excessive self-decoration and embellishment. Belinda, an eighteenth-century woman. Belinda's entire existence is confined to sleeping make-up, pleasure, and the allure of affection, malice, and submission. Pope portrays the eighteenth-century women who engage in all of these stupid activities through Belinda. In the excerpt, Belinda screams at the top of her lungs after Lord Petre snipped her hair. Her scream's exaggeration hints at the importance of beauty for women in that era. Pope mocks these conventional views of beauty by comparing her scream to that of a dying husband or a lap dog. According to the poem, women in that era were primarily expected to be decorative rather than rational, and the loss of beauty was a serious issue.

Pope further satirizes the spoiled nature of upper-class women, whose nature may support their own vulnerability to abuse. When Arial realizes that Belinda doesn't have the virtues he thought she did, he gives in to the extract. It could imply that Arial permits the lock to be broken because Belinda does not merit protection. It suggests that she possesses the characteristics that should be broken.

Pope mocks human nature. Pope is a representation of the heroic aristocracy of the time. He mocks man's inability to appreciate beauty. Man gives up everything for beauty, and even the most intelligent men act foolishly when they fall prey to beauty.

Poet, on the other hand, juxtaposes the Baron's act with that of a knight in an ironic way in the third canto excerpt. In legends, the legend is helped with wearing the protective layer and giving over the weapon to battle. Ironically, the poet parodies that epic characteristic to show how the Baron, who represents the upper class, has fallen short. The actions of men in that era are mocked by giving the trivial act of cutting a lock of hair an epic value. The poet wants to show how much a person can lose their way when they fall prey to beauty. Then again, disregarding a lady's delight knowing the damage it can do to a lady also shows the ruined idea of noble youth at that time.

The Pope mocks husbands and wives. He asserts that husbands frequently mistakenly believe that their wives have tied the knot with their lovers. Additionally, wives are in no way virtuous. The death of a husband is not more shocking than the death of a lapdog because wives love their lapdogs more than their husbands.

In conclusion, the poem is a lighthearted and delicate satire that reflects the artificial and hollow life. Pope is attempting to reform his society through this poem. Pope's satire is original, insightful, and packed with an epigram. This post focuses on examples from the extract of canto three, but the satire in the extract is the same throughout the poem. You can get the whole idea of the poem by reading it aloud. Please share your findings in the section marked "comments." If you find this helpful, please share the post with others. 


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