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Key Points for Mock Epic (ROL)

1) Definition of Mock Epic

2) Invocation of the Muse

3) opening with the proposition of the subject matter which is very trivial

4) Petty, trivial and funny detail of weaponry as compared to considerable one

5) Ritual sacrifices the Baron performed to mimic the epic tradition of sacrificing to the deities.

6) supernatural machinery

7) a long perilous journey on water is a must in an epic.

8) trivial incident made big through mockery

9) An epic poem must contain some episodes also (Episodes of Game of Ombre)

10) Descriptions of Soldiers Preparing for Battle

11) Descriptions of Heroic Deeds

12) Presentation of Scenes in the Underworld

13) The heroic-couplets

14) Happy Ending: Lock becoming a celestial relic

Quotation for Mock Epic

1) what dire offence from amorous causes 4) Fairest of Mortals, thou distinguished care
of thousand bright inhabitant of air"
What mighty contest rise from trivial things

5) This lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame,

2) I sing - this verse to Caryll, muse! is due
And midst the stars inscribe Belindas name!
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view!

6)Repaird to search the gloomy cave of Spleen.

3) Say what strange motive, Goddness! could
Swift on his sooty pinions flits the gnome,
compel A well-bred lord to assault a gentle
Key Points for Pope as a Satirist
1) Definition

2) Kinds of Satire

3) Pope Exposes the Artificial life of his time in humorous way in ROL

4) Satire in ROL is not against any individual rather against the follies and vanities of vox-populi (Social

5) Satire in ROL aims at reforming moral follies and vanities

6) Pope's gathering of humorous details of daily funny routine of the people of his time

7) Pope unmasks the prevailing decadency of his time

8) Pope's technique of metamorphosis through cave of spleen

9) The use of hyperbolic expressions

10) Element of incongruity

11) Pope's intention of establishing the saner values and showing their superiority

12) Pope is a moralist

13) satire upon feminine frivolity

Quotation for Pope as a Satirist

1) Satire is defined by Long as a literary work which searches out the faults of men or institutions in
order to hold them upto ridicule. Dryden thinks that the true purpose of satire is the amendment of
vices by correction. The best definition of the word is the one given by Richard Garnett, the expression
in adequate terms of the sense of amusement or disgust excited by the ridiculous or unseemly, provided
the humour is a distinctly recognised element, and that the utterance is inverted with literary from.
Without humour satire is invective, without literary form, it is mere clownish jeering.

2) Satire may be of two kinds, (1) personal, (2) impersonal. Personal satire has an individual for its target.
It can be effective in the hands of a master ; generally it degenerates into vituperation and personal
invective. It is short-lived and has little permanent value. Impersonal or genuine satire aims at the type,
not the individual, and it tends to proceed from the ephemeral to the enternal and the universal. It has a
wider range. In it individuals are used as examples of vices and foibles that infect the age. Types provide
some of the finest achievements of impersonal satire.

3) What dire offences from amorous causes springs?

What mighty contests rise from trivial things?

6) Not louder shrieks to pitying Heave are cast,

4) With tender Billet-doux he lights the Pyre, When husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their
And breathes three amrous Sighs to raise the

Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent Eyes 7) The hungry judges soon the sentence sign,

Soon to obtain, and long possess the Prize: And wretches hang that jurymen may dine

5) A beau and witling perished in the throng, 8) Think not, when Woman's transient Breath is
One died in metaphor, and one in song.
That all her Vanities at once are dead."

9) Here Files of Pins extend their shining Rows, And sleepless Lovers, just at Twelve, awake:

Puffs, Powders, Patches, Bibles, Billet-doux.

11) With varying Vanities, from ev'ry Part,

10) Now Lap-dogs give themselves the rowzing They shift the moving Toyshop of their Heart"

Key Points for ROL as a Social Satire

1) satire on the aristocratic society of England by using the burlesque, mockery, and irony

2) Dryden said, The true end of satire is the amendment of vice by correction, and that is what Pope
set out to do in his Rape of the Lock.

3) satirizes the society as a whole in ways still relevant to then world

4) The poem is, in fact, a satire upon feminine frivolity

5) Satire on the vanities of aristocratic ladies

6) Satire on womens excessive attention of self embellishment and self decoration

7) Lack of depth of feelings in women and their superficiality

8) The Moral decadence of the ladies is ridiculed

9) The gallant of that time were not spared by Pope

10) Hypocrisy and shortsightedness of the Elite

11) The Shallowness of the majority of the Society

12) Pretension and affected manners of the Fair Sex

13) Pope's use of supernatural machinery to expose the varying vanities of mind and soul of the 18th

14) Lord Petre's character shows spiritual estrangement of 18th century men

15) The visit to Hampton Court as the most favourite leisure sport shows the pettiness of the character
of that time

16) Ultimate goal is Realism and Reformation

Quotation of ROL as Social Satire

1) A well-bred lord to assault a gentle belle

could make a gentle belle reject a lord

2) The Hungry judges soon the sentence sign

and wretches hang hat jurymen may dine

Keypoints for Supernatural Machinery in ROL

1) Definition of Supernatural Machinery by Pope

2) Sources Of Pope's Machinery: (Pope took the name of Ariel from Shakespeare's The Tempest, and
the idea of the sylphs from a French book, Le Comts do Gabalis, which gives an account of the
Rosicrucian mythology of spirits. According to this mythology, the four elements are inhabited by spirits,
which are called sylphs (air), gnomes (earth), nymphs (water), and salamanders (fire). Two of these
kinds-sylphs and gnomes - are introduced by Pope in The Rape of the Lock.

3) The Functions of the Machinery: protection of chaste ladies

4) Power to acquire any shape

5) Cave of Spleen

6) The machinery both mirrors and mocks the customs of conventions of the society

7) In ROL, they are present at almost every crucial stage

8) These light militia increase dramatic suspense and the depth of the story
9) They are presented humorously

10) Supernatural Machinery contribute to ROL being a mock epic:

ROL as the Representation of 18th Century

1) True Representation of the 18th Century is ROL

2) Triviality, prudence, frivolity of beau and belles are shown

3) Neat and perfect picture of feminine frivolities: Powders, puffs, love making, billet-doux

4) Lack of ambition and self-esteem in fops

5) Justice System: Base and corrupt

6) Squandering of Merchants and Traders

7) Moral Decadence of 18th Century Aristocracy

8) Spending of time in nonsensical goals: Lord Petre's running for the Lock

9) Shrieking of Ladies over petty issues

10) Farcical values of aristocratic family: Breaking of relations between family over petty matters

11) Lack of morality at every level of society

Quotation for 18th Century

1) in task so bold can little men engage the sun obliquely shoots his burning ray

and in soft bosom dwelt such might rage the hungry judges soon the sentence sign

and wretches hand that jurymen may dine

2) But this bold ford with manly strength

4) whether the nymph shall break the Diana's
she was one finger and a thumb subdued Law

just where the breath of life his nostrils drew or some frail china far receives a flaw

A change of snuff the wily virgin threw or strain her honour or her new brocade

3) Meanwhile, declining from the noon of the


5) One speaks the glory of the British Queen and one describes a charming Indian screen
a third interpreter motions, looks and eyes; transformed to combs, the speckled and white.

at every word a repetition dies.

Snuff or the fans supply each pause of chat 7) But chiefly love to love an altar built

with singing, laughing, ogling, and all that of twelve vast French romances neatly gilt

There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves;

6)the casket India's glowing gems unlocks, And All the trophies of his former loves;

and all Arabia breathes from yonder box, with tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,

the tortoise here and elephant unite And breathes three amourous sighs to raise the
Belinda's Character + Treatment of Women
1) Pope's obvious misogyny is shown in ROL

2) Misogyny is shown through feminine frivolities

3) Misogyny is shown through vanities:

4) Misogyny is also shown through supernatural machinery: Types of nymphs, salamander, gnome etc

5) Belinda is a character about whom one school of critics talk as a mocking figure and some as reverend
one; truth lies between these two points

6) Misogyny is also presented through male-female relationship;

7) Belinda is the female protagonist

8) Belinda is A creation o f Wit, Beauty and Poetry

9) An object of Mockery and Adoration

10) Representative of her class

11) Central Character of the poem

12) Her Ravishing and Dazzling beauty

13) Her Habits: Her romantic nature

14) A shrewd Coquette: hypocritical or superficial

15) An emotional Being who lacks morality

16) possesses a superb skill in playing the game of ombre

Quotation on Belinda character

1)Belinda smiled, and all the world was gay.

5) Sudden he viewed, in spite of all her art,

2)Bright as the sun , her eyes the gazers strike , An earthly lover lurking at her heart.

And, like the sun , she shines on all alike.

6) Not louder shrieks to pitying Heaven are

3) Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
When husbands, or when lapdogs breathe their
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.

4) Favours to none, to all she smiles extends

7) On her white breast a sparkling Cross she
Oft she rejects, but never once offends, wore .

The opening of the poem establishes its mock-heroic style. Pope introduces the conventional epic
subjects of love and war and includes an invocation to the muse and a dedication to the man (the
historical John Caryll) who commissioned the poem. Yet the tone already indicates that the high
seriousness of these traditional topics has suffered a diminishment.

The second line confirms in explicit terms what the first line already suggests: the amrous causes the
poem describes are not comparable to the grand love of Greek heroes but rather represent a trivialized
version of that emotion. The contests Pope alludes to will prove to be mighty only in an ironic sense.
They are card-games and flirtatious tussles, not the great battles of epic tradition. Belinda is not, like
Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships , but rather a face thatalthough also
beautifulprompts a lot of foppish nonsense.

The first two verse-paragraphs emphasize the comic inappropriateness of the epic style (and
corresponding mind-set) to the subject at hand.

There is a startling juxtaposition of the petty and the grand, the former is real while the latter is ironic.
In mock-epic, the high heroic style works not to dignify the subject but rather to expose and ridicule it.
Therefore, the basic irony of the style supports the substance of the poems satire, which attacks the
misguided values of a society that takes small matters for serious ones while failing to attend to issues of
genuine importance.......

Popes portrayal of Belinda at her dressing table introduces mock-heroic motifs that will run through
the poem. The scene of her toilette is rendered first as a religious sacrament, in which Belinda herself is
the priestess and her image in the looking glass is the Goddess she serves.

Setting of the Poem

The action takes place in London and its environs in the early 1700's on a single day. The story begins at
noon (Canto I) at the London residence of Belinda as she carefully prepares herself for a gala social
gathering. The scene then shifts (Canto II) to a boat carrying Belinda up the Thames. To onlookers she is
as magnificent as Queen Cleopatra was when she traveled in her barge. The rest of the story (Cantos III-
V) takes place where Belinda debarksHampton Court Palace, a former residence of King Henry VIII on
the outskirts of Londonexcept for a brief scene in Canto IV that takes place in the cave of the Queen of


Belinda Beautiful young lady with wondrous hair, two locks of which hang gracefully in curls.

The Baron Young admirer of Belinda who plots to cut off one of her locks.

Ariel Belinda's guardian sylph (supernatural creature).

Clarissa Young lady who gives the Baron scissors.

Umbriel Sprite who enters the cave of the Queen of Spleen to seek help for Belinda.

Queen of Spleen Underworld goddess who gives Umbriel gifts for Belinda.

Thalestris Friend of Belinda. Thalestris urges Sir Plume to defend Belinda's honor.

Sir Plume Beau of Thalestris. He scolds the Baron.

Sylphs, Fairies, Genies, Demons, Phantoms and Other Supernatural Creatures

Source: a Real-Life Incident

Pope based The Rape of the Lock on an actual incident in which a British nobleman, Lord Petre, cut off a
lock of hair dangling tantalizingly from the head of the beautiful Arabella Fermor. Petres daring theft of
the lock set off a battle royal between the Petre and Fermor families. John Carylla friend of Pope and
of the warring familiespersuaded the great writer to pen a literary work satirizing the absurdity and
silliness of the dispute. The result was one of the greatest satirical poems in all of literature. In writing
the poem, Pope also drew upon ancient classical sourcesnotably Homers great epics, The Iliad and
The Odysseyas models to imitate in style and tone. He also consulted the texts of medieval and
Renaissance epics.

The central theme of The Rape of the Lock is the fuss that high society makes over trifling matters, such
as breaches of decorum. In the poem, a feud of epic proportions erupts after the Baron steals a lock of
Belindas hair. In the real-life incident on which Pope based his poem, the Petre and the Fermor families
had a falling-out after Lord Petre snipped off one of Arabella Fermors locks. Other themes that Pope
develops in the poem include human vanity and the importance of being able to laugh at lifes little
reversals. The latter motif is a kind of moral to the story. Clarissa touches upon both of these themes
when addressing tearful Belinda, shorn of her lock:
But since, alas! frail Beauty must decay,

Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Locks will turn to grey;

Since painted, or not painted, all shall fade,

And she who scorns a Man, must die a Maid,

What then remains but well our Pow'r to use,

And keep good Humour still whate'er we lose?

The climax of The Rape of the Lock occurs when the Baron snips away one of Belinda's locks.


Pope wrote The Rape of the Lock in heroic couplets. A heroic couplet is a unit of two rhyming lines in
iambic pentameter. The entire poem consists of one heroic couplet followed by another, as
demonstrated by the first four lines of the poem:

Figures of Speech

The main figure of speech in The Rape of the Lock is hyperbole. Pope uses it throughout the poem to
exaggerate the ordinary and the commonplace, making them extraordinary and spectacular. In so doing,
paradoxically, he makes them seem as they really are, small and petty. Examples of hyperbole include
the following:

Sol through white Curtains shot a tim'rous Ray,

And ope'd those Eyes that must eclipse the Day.

Hyberbole: Belinda's eyes are so bright that they outshine a ray of sunlight

This Nymph, to the Destruction of Mankind,

Nourish'd two Locks which graceful hung behind

Hyperbole: Belinda is so beautifuland her wondrous locks so invitingthat she can bring mankind to
ruin with desire.


Slight is the subject, but not so the praise (Canto I, line 5)

And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say (Canto I, line 26)

Some secret truths, from learned pride conceal'd (Canto I, line 37)
Where Wigs with Wigs, with Sword-knots Sword-knots strive,

Beaux banish Beaux, and Coaches Coaches drive. (Canto I, 101-102)


What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,

What mighty contests rise from trivial things (Canto I, lines 1-2)

When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,

When music softens, and when dancing fires? (Canto I, 75-76)


They shift the moving Toyshop of their heart (Canto 1, line 100)

Comparison of the whims of a young woman to the Toyshop of the heart


And mighty hearts are held in slender chains. (Canto II, line 24)

Use of hearts to represent Belinda's male admirers



ROL as Mock Epic

Mock epic is a narrative poem which aims at mockery and laughter by using almost all the characteristic
features of an epic but for a trivial subject. Alexander Popes The Rape of the Lock is a famous mock-
epic. In it, there is invocation to Muses, proposition of subject, battles, supernatural machinery, journey
on water, underworld journey, long speeches, feasts (coffee house), Homeric similes and grand style but
all for a simple family dispute instead of a national struggle. The grand treatment of a low subject
produces hilarious laughter and makes the story more ridiculous.