In "An Essay on Criticism," Alexander Pope defines the use of wit, stating that a poet should use plain language and restrict the use of  metaphor. Discuss why Pope does not apply this definition of this definition of wit to "The Rape of the Lock."

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In Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock," the "rules," as he describes them in "An Essay on Criticism," would not apply at all because "The Rape of the Lock" is not serious, but lightly satirical and humorous; the brilliance of the piece comes directly from Pope's choice regarding how to handle a strong disagreement between two families because a young man stole a lock of a young woman's hair. Plain language is used to convey ideas in a serious manner. People feuding over a snip of hair is ridiculous, and the topic begs for a playful hand, so much more in keeping with satire than plain language, and Pope provides this.

While the use of heroic-couplets is a serious and worthwhile tool of the poet, Pope's "The Rape...

(The entire section contains 375 words.)

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