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In The Rape of the Lock Alexander Pope satirises the social expectations of eighteenth-century femininity by using a mock-epic style However the poem is not simply a satirical attack Pope is also allured by that which he derides as we can see from an analysis of the poem especially an analysis of the central character Belinda The very conception of the poem is laughable and ridiculous It was born out of a trivial incident blown out of all proportion Lord Petre stole a lock of hair from Arabella Fermors head and this caused a discord between the two aristocratic families This is showed in the beginning of Popes poemWhat dire Offence from amorous causes springsWhat mighty Contests rise from trivial Things The Rape of the Lock I 1-2Clearly Pope is asking the quarrelling parties to review their causes and not to take this incident and themselves too seriously The mock-epic style of the poem is suited to this attitude because this form of poetry matches high language to low subject matter and uses the ridiculous effect to poke fun at the subject This is exactly what he does with Belinda who can be seen as the main representative of 18th century femininity in this poemAt the beginning of the poem we can have our first glimpse of Belinda and her extremely idle life-style It is nearing twelve noon and she still has not arisen from bed yet The sun itself is fearful timrous to send a ray in the room through the curtains lest it would disturb her indolent rest Another reason why it is afraid is that Belindas eyes once opened must eclipse its own brightness The Rape of the Lock I 13-14 Thus we can see that from the very outset Pope has described Belinda in vastly exaggerated terms and her idleness receives praise instead of censure Both of the two reasons are examples of irony Pope surely does not mean that
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