Explain the following couplet Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock?" Part I: This to disclose is all thy Guardian can.Beware of all, but most beware of Man! Please identify the meaning of and...
Explain the following couplet Alexander Pope's "Rape of the Lock?" Part I:
This to disclose is all thy Guardian can.
Beware of all, but most beware of Man!
Please identify the meaning of and references in the couplet.
The Rape of the Lock is a mock-epic piece. It aims to put a light hearted spin on the early epic classics from the likes of Homer. Pope sets the stage of a dreaming girl, Belinda, who is guided and protected by spirits. Her guardian spirit, Ariel, sends her a dream of a handsome youth and discloses her protection by the army of spirits. Belinda embodies the superficial and frivilous ways of young women and is fancied by young men. Pope explains in the first canto that it's not a young woman's fault if she is vain and frivilous - the sprites make her this way. The spirits do encourage young ladies to be proud and resist the offers of men. Towards the end of the first section, Ariel tells Belinda "This to disclose is all thy guardian can. Beware of all, but most beware of man!" He's letting her know that something dreadful will soon happen, but he knows not the details of what, when, and where. He simply warns Belinda to be on the look out.
Pope makes it pretty clear that young women like Belinda are not guided by a strict moral code, but more by an obsession with worldly things and status. However, he also wants the reader to know that these young women are trained to think and behave this way. Belinda is intrigued by things and men, and although she's directly warned by Ariel to beware of men (perhaps a potential suitor or someone wishing to do her wrong - we don't know at this point) she wakes from her dream and seems to forget about the warning right away.