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English 1022E Lecture Notes - Deflation, Thalestris

Course Code
English 1022E
David Bentley

of 2
English Lecture “The Rape of the Lock” February 8, 2011
The Rape of the Lock
On Board:
“The Rape of the Sabine Women”
“frolic of gallantry”
Inflation of the Purpose
Genesis 1:28 “God said unto them… replenish the Earth, and subdue it, and have
9:1 “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them… replenish the Earth”
11.9 “THe Lord did their (at Babel) confound the language. And from there scatter
them… upon the face of the Earth”
-At this time everybody simply believed in the Bible.
-Theory of degeneration - Noah must’ve been an extremely good boat maker
-All the values Europeans cherished: hard work, etc. was not seen as being in other
parts of the world. (Inuit, Africa - they “have no culture”)
-Imperialism as Enlightenment. Bringing light to other parts of the world.
-p.1308 Samuel’s commentary on Paradise Lost:
-Similar to colony/empire. Satan essentially colonizes Hell.
-Chaos. Satan/Sin/Death help make the beaten path between Hell/Eden. They’re
road builders. Which were very important in the colonization of Canada.
-Eden. Adam and Eve explore it, Adam names things. Exactly what colonists do.
-Paradise Lost is essentially tied up in Imperialism.
-Rape of the Lock
-What inspired this poem (1136)
-Persecution of Catholics. Pope couldn’t hold office, vote, go to university. So he
translated the Iliad and Odyssey.
-Pope’s friend suggested he write it to bring laughter to these troubled times.
-Fun event = frolic of gallantry
-The Rape of the Lock
-Title implies that there is a rape. (The Rape of the Sabine Women). This is a
heinous crime, a big deal. Pope draws on this magnitude - he uses the word
rape. He alludes to serious things that happen behind the scenes.
-177-178: Suggestions that the hair involved is not Belinda’s hair on her head.
This is suggestive to rape.
-Thalestris named after fierce warrior that makes Belinda angry. She wants to
make Belinda burn, make her see that this loss of hair is equal to the loss of
virginity. If she can do this Belinda will freak out, and she wants her to.
-Juxtaposition of huge and momentous versus the trivial and silly.
-The Baron has behaved badly and destroyed symmetry and balance. The couplet
is very symmetric. Everything in Rape of the Lock is in pairs.
-Baron’s shadowy, silly Satanic figure. Wants something that does not belong to
him. He is a half wit, someone who does everything in halves, doesn’t adhere to
neoclassical view of balance and symmetry.
English Lecture “The Rape of the Lock February 8, 2011
-He reads French books. To the English at this time, everything French
meant something naughty. Enmity between the 2 countries is registered
-Deity is Joe. His emblem is the scales. Represents idea of order and symmetry. Order
that Baron is going to destroy through one act of dissymmetry.
-Poem is full of parallels.
-Pope is taking epic conventions and applying it to trivial things. His purpose is to make
trivial things seem important which reveals how trivial they really are.
-Compare small to great, and you will see just how small these issues are. Puts things in
-Mock epic, but it isn’t mocking epics. It’s using epic devices for humourous purposes.
-Use of invocation. Narrator calls upon Muse in help dealing with themes.
-Pope has a short statement. Like Milton he uses a delayed verb, a verb at the
end of sentence. Pope sets up this balance at the very beginning.
-Key inspiration for his supernatural machinery is Paradise Lost Book One l.23,
-“Execute their airy purposes”
- Belinda wakes up = time of the temptation.