In "The Rape of the Lock," is this an example of a heroic couplet?"Nourished two locks which graceful hung behind."

Expert Answers
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Alexander Pope, the author of this hilarious mock-epic, was renowned for his use of heroic couplets in his work. These are called heroic couplets because both Pope and his literary predecessor John Dryden used this form in their translations of epic poems such as The Iliad and The Odyssey. Each heroic couplet consists of two rhymed lines of iambic pentameter, which means each line has 5 feet, 10 syllables, and a regular "de-dum" rhythm. Pope did vary this though. Couplets are "closed" when they express a thought in a complete sentence.

Having reminded ourselves of the definition of a heroic couplet, we can see that you have provided us with one half of a heroic couplet. It has 5 feet, 10 syllables and a clear rhythm. However, we obviously can't see if it rhymes or not because we need the line that goes with it. Hope this helps you in your further analysis of the heroic couplets of Pope! Good luck!

dnguha | Student

The typical stanza form in which the thoughts of the neo-classicists are clothed is the heroic couplet--two iambic pentameter lines rhyming together. Pope chose this verse form for its endless adaptibility. In his hands the heroic couplet becomes "closed", that is, each couplet contains a complete thought, stated as precisely as possible. Closed heroic couplets do the function of a stanza. The heroic couplet enables Pope to underscore the antithetic aspects of the truly epic world and Belinda's showy world of petty social values. Pope's couplets are capable of achieving every known poetic effect including high seriousness and low comedy, elevation and depression, joy and despair and many other poetic moods. " In The Rape Of The Lock the variation of poetic moods is remarkable. The poet soars and sinks, magnifies and diminishes his characters, reaches towering climaxes and descends to abysmal depths."

----This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,

Nourished two locks, which graceful hung behind

mizradane | Student

A couplet is part of lines of verse. It usually consist of two lines that rhyme and have the same meter. Traditionally couplets are smart rhymed, although not all couplets rhyme.

Couplets with a meter of iambic pentameter are called heroic couplet.

i.e this too is a heroic couplet.

Read the study guide:
The Rape of the Lock

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question