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Essay on Comparison of Pope and Swift

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Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift in their respective poems, The Rape of the Lock and The Progress of Beauty, offer opposite representations of the nature and function of cosmetics in eighteenth century society. In The Rape of the Lock, Pope gives a positive representation of cosmetic's nature and function in eighteenth century society. On the other hand, Swift's representation takes a very negative tone. Both poets clearly appreciate and admire the natural beauty of a woman and their opposite opinions and therefore representation of the nature and function of cosmetics, springs from this admiration. Pope, whilst slightly ridiculing cosmetics through his use of satire, represents cosmetics in a positive light through portraying it as…show more content…
However the satire is predominately light hearted, indicating Pope's optimistic and light hearted feelings towards the use of cosmetics in eighteenth century society. The satire Pope uses on cosmetics does not put a negative tone on the use of cosmetics, but rather puts into question Belinda's, and therefore other women's priorities. In Pope's poem, "a bible as such belongs with puffs and patches." Keener's point in writing this is that Pope, by throwing in something as important as the bible with things as futile as puffs and powders and patches, is satirizing Belinda's priorities; for Belinda, religion is just as important as her appearance. Pope does not represent cosmetics as having a negative nature through his satire, but rather shows the futility of women caring as much about their appearance as they do about God. This is the only real satire Pope uses in relation to the use of cosmetics. It may be argued that Pope is using this to show the negative function of cosmetics in eighteenth century society in that it distracts women from God. However, vanity is something that can exist with or without the presence of cosmetics. Even in Eden, Eve was distracted by her own beauty, giving in to vanity. Therefore it would be fair to argue that this being the only presence of satire of cosmetics in The Rape of the Lock, Pope maintains his representation of the nature and
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