The Lady’s Dressing Room Essay

In an attempt to arouse amusement over a true to life trivial incident, Alexander Pope wrote this poem in mocking heroic verse form. The background story was of a great admirer of a lady stole a lock of her hair. The two families of the lady, Belinda, and the gentleman, The Baron, found themselves angry with each other over the incident. Instead of amiably taking to light what acts being besotted to can display, the seemingly unforgiveable was indeed taken in heights of resentment.

Thus the poem illustrated the thin line that can divide the significant and the insignificant in life – even the mundane and the profound, even the banal and the blase. The poem was hoping to bring peace to the two families as they are supposedly enlightened through the humor it was trying to exact. What transpires in feelings of love and acts of courtship cannot be really be predictable and not all causes and effect can be judged.

The incidence in “The Rape of the Lock” was meant to have been resolved with a simple dose of tolerance and understanding – and yet, it has not come to pass. “The rape of the lock may well have been an incident in the period of circumspection–how thorough such circumspection was likely to be may be gathered from the correspondence of Caryll during 1710-11 when he was choosing a wife for his son. If two such families who ‘had lived so long in friendship before’ are estranged through a fairly trivial incident, it seems there is thunder in the air.

” (The Story Behind the Poem, 1997, para 4) Thus, the poem went to elaborate the surrounding characteristics of the time that caused the “blowing out of proportion”. The amorous intent was contemptuous at its best. Belinda felt scandalized. Her emancipation from the embarrassment was for her hair to be returned to her – inspite of it having been snipped off anyway and flown in the air. The contemptuous act has likewise wrongly trodden on the vain attitude of the members of society at that time.

The epitome of elegance, the likes of Belinda have values intact that could not just be taken for granted. The circumstantial background of the poem with all the appointments of fineries and well chosen place show that the characters of the poem belong to the elite. The Rape of the Lock was a very simple, honest and true depiction of the 17th century England. The masterful combination of allusions to the social and political realities of the time was illustrated in the poem.

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Yet even if there were trying ideals and realities, the poem was sure that people in error could find humor in their mistakes – and even people who have been wronged, as long as it was not grievously or maliciously intended. With the technical treatment of “The Rape of the Lock”, it can be gleamed that such poetry was created in high tone and in epic proportions. The iambic pentameter of the poem is refined, exquisite, witty, sensitive. The poem illustrates that Alexander Pope is an expert in heroic couplet; in measured and balanced rhythms; and ordinary speech syntax. “The Rape of the Lock” is revered as a classic.

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