Alexander Pope Questions and Answers

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Consider The Rape of the Lock  as a representative mock-heroic poem.

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Pope's The Rape of the Lock is mock heroic, as well as mock epic, since it is divided into cantos and is long enough to be reminiscent of an epic.  The adjective "mock" means imitation, fake.  The poem presents trivial occurrences as if they are epic.

Some of the parallels between the poem and epics follow:

  • The hero of the poem is Belinda 
  • The preparing for battle, the arming of the warrior, is Belinda putting on her makeup, etc.
  • The battle is the game of cards
  • The "rape" or injustice or evil deed is the cutting off of the lock of hair
  • The supernatural components are the sylphs and gnomes

The poem even begins with an invocation to the Muse to aid in the story telling, as ancient epics do. 

Pope uses this mock heroic device to ridicule and poke fun at social manners and human behavior.

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