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Materialism In Alexander Pope And Pope's Rape Of The Lock

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The views of women have altered over time, but have always had objectifying tendencies. During the 18th century, cosmetic alteration to natural beauty peaked and materialism heightened throughout societal views. Authors such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift vividly spew these views throughout their writings. Pope’s Rape of the Lock exposes the materialism used in objectifying women, mainly in the upper-class societal levels. The whole plot of the story centers around a cosmetic appearance creating an objectified view, as since the lock of hair was cut from a woman's head, the missing lock became, so called, evidence of a man’s sexual conquest. Other sexual conquests, forced or not, are spoken with anything but love and only those of…show more content…
This elevation highly represents the overall theme that materialism plays an almost biblical role in society. The other way to analyze the list is that the “Bibles” are brought down to the very materialistic level of the other listed cosmetics. Another aspect to note is that “Bibles” is plainly listed, not the first or last mentioned item, but somewhere in the middle. Both ways conclude that the cosmetic, material items compare at the same level as the “Bible's” paired along with them. Another list comes with a comparison of paired items that contradict each other's importance; “... Or stain her honor, or her new brocade,/ forget her prayers, or miss a masquerade,/ Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;...” (Pope II 106-107). The first description used in each line is something of importance, as staining honor, forgetting prayers or losing her heart all have serious implications and consequences. But then those more serious actions are paired with trivial material ones; staining a new brocade, missing a masquerade or losing a necklace at a ball. The material actions paired with important ones really unify them as being on the same level of importance. The contradiction is removed and materialism is elevated.
Objectification of women goes hand and hand with materialism. When Pope speaks of the sexual conquests in The Rape of the Lock, he only focuses on the material aspects that result
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