The Representation of Women in Snow White, Sonnet 130 and the Rape of the Lock

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The representation of females in literary Works is a polemical issue. They have often been associated with a misogynistic stereotype. I have chosen three literary texts to compare the descriptions of women; “Snow White”, “Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare and “The Rape of the Lock” by Alexander Pope. This will draw attention to the way that women are often portrayed as we see the common ingredients in their descriptions, as well as any potential differences between them. In both “Snow White” and “The Rape of the Lock” women are portrayed as vain and obsessed with their beauty. The speaker in “The Rape of the Lock” condemns the girl described, Belinda, for her obsession with appearances by mocking her through the use of hyperbole, for…show more content…
We can see a clear contrast in the description of Little Snow-White and the mistress from “Sonnet 130”, to the point that they are almost the antithesis of each other. An example of this is their skin. Little Snow-White is said to be “white as snow” (line 8), whereas the sonnet says “If snow be white, why then [the mistress’] breasts are dun” (line 3). Another example is their cheeks, where the mistress is said to have “no such roses” (line 6) in her cheeks, Little Snow-White is described as “rosy as blood” ( line 8). Finally there is a distinct variation in the description of their hair, although in both cases black, Little Snow-White’s is described as being “black as ebony” (line 9) where the mistress’ hair is said to be “black wires”, the choice of simile is extremely different, ebony being a luxurious and presumably beautiful material and wires being supposedly common and ugly. The three portrayals of female beauty are conflicting, with Belinda’s being purely artificial, like a façade, Little Snow-White’s being natural, and the mistress’ being apparently non-existent. With these descriptions go three opposing perceptions of women. The first two are extremely misogynistic; “The Rape of the Lock” ridicules them as vain, shallow people, “Snow White” objectifies them by

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