Reading Response-The Rape of the Lock
What are some of the images that recur through the poem, and what significance do they have?
The Rape of the Lock is a very good example of mock epic poetry. The poem concerns a feud between two Catholic families, the Petres and the Fermors. Lord Petre cuts a lock from Arabella Fermor's hair. Arabella and her family were very upset by this incident. Pope appears to write the poem in order to help bring peace between the two families in hopes they will laugh together over this poem. The images recurring throughout the poem comically tell the story of the robbery of a lock of hair in a very descriptive and imaginative nature. An image that is repeated very vividly and on numerous occasions throughout the poem is the sun. Although Belinda seems to be armoring herself for a battle and has lots of pride and inner strength, Pope still gives her even more pride by adding flare to her appearance and thoughts through this image of the sun. "Sol through white curtains shot a tim'rous ray" and this ray of sunlight reflects off of Belinda's eyes. Then the sun is mentioned in other various places, in the beginning of Canto 2, "The sun first rises o'er the purpled main," and then further down, "Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike, And, like the sun, they shine on all like." Pope not only expresses the passing of the day by the image of the sun, but he also shows Belinda's beauty and her presence being in a well-lighted, heavenly atmosphere which sets the tone for the journey of her lock of hair into the heavens with the stars. Another recurring image offered in the poem is china. Belinda will likely be broken-hearted and her reputation can be threatened if she loses her gorgeous and precious lock of hair. The image of china breaking foreshadows the fragile heart of Belinda breaking once she discovers her hair is raped of her head. China is also very classical and beautiful much like Belinda. In Canto 3,...
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