The Rape Of The Lock

1295 Words Apr 6th, 2016 6 Pages
In order to understand Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock, it is imperative that the reader comprehends the meaning of wit and its purpose, the resulting effect of rhymes, and what meanings and/or feelings are conveyed when reading a heroic couplet or the “coupletness” of the poem. For Pope, wit and couplets are overlapping, intersecting concepts. Pope employs vocabulary, syntax and style to bring wit to his poems, proving that form is not divisible from content. In The Rape of the Lock, Pope utilizes style and form as a dialectic force to critique the social and political state of eighteenth century England and addresses public and private (or social and psychological) space through poetic structure.
Wit, Rhymes, and the Heroic Couplet Aesthetically, couplets are clear and complete and wit and rhyme take on the role of obscurement. In The Rape of the Lock, Pope utilizes the two to produce heroic couplets that suggest of meaning left unexpressed or inexpressible. It is the social function and subversiveness of wit that destabilizes the structures that poets have built to contain it. Pope avoided committing himself to controversial points, to a single meaning, by writing couplets that bore different meanings. We can comprehend this as Pope’s understanding that attachments to single meanings are inadequate since nuances of social relationships are layered and complex. It is the social nature of wit to always remain ungraspable, to be an element of surprise. Wit employs…
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