Connotations of Marriage and Social Morals in Alexander Pope´s Poem "The Rape of the Lock"

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Connotations of marriage and social mores in Alexander’s Pope poem

“The Rape of the Lock”

In the early eighteenth century England witnessed the peak of the tumultuous changes that is presently known as the Age of Enlightenment. Trapped deep within the chaotic changes of politics, religion, art and social mores, Alexander Pope proved a master at exploiting these changes circumstances in order to become an admired poet. (page 558, Wilson)

Visible affected by the superficiality of the humankind, Alexander Pope made fun of the real life situations, and commented on the vanity and trivialness of high society during his time. According to Butt John, “Pope suggests that society has no concept of priority, in that they treat the trivial with the same amount of severity as the serious.” (Butt)

One of the most brilliant courtship poems wrote by Pope to satirise the social mores and the triviality of his “époque” is “The Rape of the Lock”. The poem presents a real life situation when a young lord stole one of the locks of the one with who he wanted to establish a more intimate relationship. The poem folds neatly on the real life situation and successfully grasps on Pope’s message that people are focusing on insignificant things and they are unable to find their true identities.

Say what strange Motive, Goddess! cou'd compel

A well-bred Lord t'assault a gentle Belle?

Oh say what stranger Cause, yet unexplor'd,

Cou'd make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?…