E211 Fall 2010 Students' Blog

Alexandra Calvillon on Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock

Published by admin_main on Mon 15 Nov, 2010

24. What drives the Baron to form his nefarious plot?

Pope begins describing Belinda as being a very beautiful woman. In lines 5 and 6 it says, "Fair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her shone,/ But ev'ry eye was fix'd on her alone." Here the word nymphs means women, and he's saying that even though there are a lot of beautiful women around her, every one still seemed to take notice of Belinda. Pope indirectly mocks his materialistic era by pointing out Belinda's beauty and jewelry in lines 7 and 8 when he says, "On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,/Jews might kiss, and infidels adore" and when referring to her with feminine features. The cross here is a symbol not for religion but instead acts as a symbol of worship for her beauty, again patronizing society's focus on physical attractiveness instead of morality. Therefore it is beauty and love that drives the Baron to form his plot to steal a lock of her hair.

Why is the extremely serious term "rape" used to describe such a ridiculous act?
(Hint: look up the Latin verb from which this word derives

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