Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock Essay

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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…
The men are enticed by Belinda’s beauty and this is her weapon in the battle against men. Some women may object, but many women do just what Pope describes Belinda as doing, using her beauty to lure men in so she could conquer their hearts. Her locks are precious and Pope writes: This Nymph, to the destruction of mankind, Nourish'd two Locks, which graceful hung behind In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck With shining ringlets the smooth iv'ry neck. (2.19-22) Pope's description proves that her locks are her most feminine and most powerful weapon. She wears her locks knowing they will lure everyone to her beauty and she may mesmerize them and have the power. The title of the poem points to a rape, but not the conventional rape the reader may think of, rather, it is the rape of a lock of hair as Pope writes. Often women are blamed for the actions that led to a rape, and the reader can interpret Pope as saying that Belinda got what she was looking for, considering she did a lot of extra work to lure men into her web. Her beauty was incredible, “If to her share some female errors fall, / Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all” (1.17-18). The Baron wants to conquer this beauty as the day before he “had implor'd / Propitious heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd, / But chiefly Love — to Love an Altar built” (2.35-36). This is what Ariel’s premonition in his dream meant, the Baron, “begs with ardent eyes /
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