Comment on Pope's use of supernatural elements in "THE RAPE OF THE LOCK"?
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Keeping this tradition of epic poetry alive Pope has also used supernatural elements in “The Rape of the Lock”. Pope has two alternatives. He could use the Christian or the Classic Greek machinery. But the use of Christian machinery would not have served his purpose in the mock-epic. Whereas keeping in mind the mock-epic theme of “The Rape of the Lock”, the use of Classical Greek machinery was also not an easy job. All this compelled Pope to use some different kind of supernatural machinery that could serve his purpose. As “The Rape of the Lock” was meant to satirize the vanities, bogus moralities and unchaste thinking of 18th century men and women, Pope skillfully used the petty spirits like Sylphs, Nymphs, Gnomes and Salamanders. These tiny spirits are in reality representatives of different kinds of 18thcentury women. These tiny spirits serves variety of purpose in “The Rape of the Lock”. They are very important dramatically, thematically and structurally for the poem. Keeping up the tradition of series epic, Pope has introduced these microscopic spirits. Through this supernatural machinery Pope creates the impression that the heroic part is over and Pseudo heroism and artificiality has taken its place. The non-heroic characters of 18thcentury beaus and belles are highlighted through supernatural machinery. They are not merely mock-epic elements, nor are they merely instruments of satire on the aristocracy; they also bring out fine passages of poetry from Pope. Through these tiny spirits Pope Mirrors and mocks at the 18thcentury aristocratic conventions and customs. The way Ariel disclosed to protect chastity of women from plotting Lords is a mock in itself. Most of the speeches of Ariel as well as his visit to cave of spleen move simultaneously on mirroring and mocking.
Pope’s use of this supernatural machinery is clever. The size of these tiny spirits is also very important. Their tiny size highlights the triviality and pettiness of the thinking of aristocratic women of Pope’s age. These tiny spirits indicate that how trivial and tiny were the ways and customs of the women of his age. From all this description of the Sylph’s machinery it is perfectly clear that Pope made it an integral part of poem. This machinery vastly enriched the literary mockery and made the poem a work of timeless appeal.
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