English 1022 Lecture on "The Rape of the Lock"

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Published on 16 Nov 2011
Department
Professor
Rape of the Lock
Lecture around November 3, 2011
On Board:
-Battle of Wits (5:35)
-Game of Cards (3:19-104)
-Journey to the Underworld (4:11-88)
-Arming Scene in Sir Gawain: 2:566-8
-Sylphs (air)
-Gnomes (earth)
-Salamander (fire)
-Nymphs (water)
-cosm(et)ic
-f(r)iend
-w(h)isp(er)
-p.91 is part of the exposition that comes from one of the Slyphs.
-l.99: “with varying vanities from every part they shift the moving toy shop of their
heart...oh blind to truth the Sylphs contrive it all”
-sense that the Sylphs handle parts of the body to keep this world of glamour going.
-Pope is depicting a horribly enclosed narcissistic world. Motion without purpose, people
fight with each other over the size of the decorations on their swords.
-These people exist in an aimless social realm, no goal that they are aiming for. Like
Gabriel circling round and round the horse and going to the same party over and over
again.
-There is a purposelessness, lack of important things to do, trivializing mentality. There
must be serious moral problems here, one of which is the vanity of Belinda.
-Belinda and her friends put too much emphasis on material things and put an excessive
attention on personal appearance. Not surprisingly, the first important passage in the poem
concerns Belinda sitting at her vanity, making herself up.
-l.121: now unveiled the toilet stands...each vase in mystic order laid… first robed in white, the
nymph… adores with head uncovered the cosmetic powers” for Belinda that cosmic is the
cosmetic. She’s vesting cosmic importance in her makeup. “Pride” is capitalized. Pride and
vanity coexist frequently together.
-Vanity is what Belinda is worshipping.
-Direct equivalent of the world of Gossip Girl, especially Blair’s life.
-Last epic device: Supernatural World. Pope calls this the light militia of the lower air. In PL the
supernatural creatures are the fallen and unfallen angels. Here, they are just airy creatures that
Pope invented. They represent different aspects of the elements and refer to different aspects of
the female world. The most important is Ariel, Belinda’s “body” guard. Like Prospero to Miranda.
-When she wakes in the morning, he’s by her, attending to her.
-Without Belinda’s honor/chastity she would be a dubious item for marriage.
-Guardianship of her chastity/virginity.
-Pope likens Belinda’s petticoats to a fortress, which has 7 perimeter walls protecting the inner
sanctums. Her dress is to protect her virginity.
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Document Summary

P. 91 is part of the exposition that comes from one of the slyphs. L. 99: with varying vanities from every part they shift the moving toy shop of their heartoh blind to truth the sylphs contrive it all . Sense that the sylphs handle parts of the body to keep this world of glamour going. Pope is depicting a horribly enclosed narcissistic world. Motion without purpose, people fight with each other over the size of the decorations on their swords. These people exist in an aimless social realm, no goal that they are aiming for. Gabriel circling round and round the horse and going to the same party over and over again. There is a purposelessness, lack of important things to do, trivializing mentality. There must be serious moral problems here, one of which is the vanity of belinda. Belinda and her friends put too much emphasis on material things and put an excessive attention on personal appearance.

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