Belinda Placing Blame in Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock

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Belinda Placing Blame in Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock

I will be examining lines 147-160 of Canto IV in The Rape of the Lock. In this selection, Belinda speaks in a monologue, apparently regretting past actions that have caused her the loss of her lock. However, it becomes clear that she is exaggerating her loss and the preventive measures she could have taken. By citing radical changes that would have been necessary to prevent the occurrence, she makes it clear that it is very difficult for a woman to escape men. In this manner, she is able to lay most of the blame for the rape of the lock on the nature of men rather than her own vain lifestyle. During her exaggerated monologue, Belinda will refer to events earlier
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For her, the entire day was a terrible day that will live in infamy forever. In lines 149-150 she says that she would be ten times happier now if she had never even seen Hampton Court. These first four lines introduce the mood of the passage, with Belinda implying that she regrets having lived life the way she has. By saying "Hampton-Court these Eyes had never seen!" (Pope IV. 150) she implies regret at having spent time at Hampton-Court and her actions there. This lock may symbolize her virginity, which indeed was of great pride and value to women of the day. Had she known that this opulent lifestyle would lead to the loss of her lock, or metaphorically, the loss of her virginity through rape, she may have lived a more modest life.

In lines 150-151 Belinda is no longer solely blaming herself as she goes on to suggest that she is not completely at fault for what has transpired. She makes the observation that she is not in any way the first woman to have ever made the mistake of trusting men. Many other young virgin women before her have also been lured by the love of the courts, popularity, and the social life only to be betrayed in various ways. In lines 153-154 she speaks of how she would rather have not been admired and sought after and instead lived secluded in some distant northern land or island. This may be implying that she should have lived like religious puritan women. These women led chaste lives and many lived on the sparsely
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