Pope critiques the vacuousness of upper-class eighteenth-century society by writing a mock epic that compares it unfavorably to the heroic culture of the Iliad.
Rather than fighting a war to save their society, the upper class members of English society spend hours getting dressed, donning jewelry, and having their hair done so they can float down the Thames in boats to a card party. They are worried not about life and death, but about gossiping about each other and about who will win the card game. A lord cutting a lock of Belinda's hair without her permission is likened to a "rape." The following quote shows how inane and empty the lives of these aristocrats are:
In various talk th' instructive hours they past,
Who gave the ball, or paid the visit last;
One speaks the glory of the British Queen,
And one describes a charming Indian screen
The overheated language with which Belinda's lost lock is treated at the climax of the poem, as if it is a disaster of epic proportions, only underscores how...
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