Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock Essay

1296 Words 6 Pages
Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock is a satirical poem that features a theme of gender roles. Throughout the poem, Pope uses his protagonist Belinda, to poke fun at the superficial nature of aristocratic women. He focuses on the ritual of womanhood and approaches it like a trivial matter, and her reaction to the offence is hysterical. Through this portrayal, he reveals that the Baron has a childish quality in his need for revenge for Belinda’s stab at his ego. The speaker’s view does come across as misogynistic, but the woman is trying to stand her ground in a society dominated by men. Taking into consideration that a male wrote the poem, during the 18th century, when woman had a particular place in society, and men often …show more content…
Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock is a satirical poem that features a theme of gender roles. Throughout the poem, Pope uses his protagonist Belinda, to poke fun at the superficial nature of aristocratic women. He focuses on the ritual of womanhood and approaches it like a trivial matter, and her reaction to the offence is hysterical. Through this portrayal, he reveals that the Baron has a childish quality in his need for revenge for Belinda’s stab at his ego. The speaker’s view does come across as misogynistic, but the woman is trying to stand her ground in a society dominated by men. Taking into consideration that a male wrote the poem, during the 18th century, when woman had a particular place in society, and men often trivialized their concerns. Pope alludes to the idea that most wars are indeed over very trivial matters. The conflicts between men and women are exposed during Pope’s exploration of this “trivial war.” The narrative of Belinda and the Baron in The Rape of the Lock reveals the main underlying theme as the power struggle between the genders.
Pope exposes through Belinda, how women use their feminine nature as weapons against men. The scene when she is getting reading for the ball, Pope describes her “toilet” or makeup ritual as if she were Achilles preparing for battle:
Th' inferior Priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling begins the sacred rites of Pride…
…Now awful Beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
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