The part Belinda plays in the social drama of The Rape of the Lock (Alexander Pope) is at once despicable and endearing. Discuss.

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Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock is a mock-epic which illustrates the importance of reason. Belinda's character illustrates the vanity of women, depicted through Belinda's obsession with her hair.

For some readers, Belinda may be seen as a despicable character. Ignoring very good advice, from Ariel, Belinda gets ready for an outing by spending much time on her hair and makeup. Belinda is depicted as a "heav'nly image." Refusing to pay attention to the warnings about men, jealousy, and vanity, Belinda does everything she can possibly do to make herself perfect. She seems far too concerned with her physical appearance. This is all compounded with Belinda's reaction to Lord Petre snipping off one of her curls. This attack on Petre only proves Belinda's vanity even more.

Other readers may find Belinda endearing. The fact that Ariel and sylphs are on the outing to protect Belinda from any harm (including the loss of her virginity), readers can picture Belinda as being something worth saving. Here, her "person" is not important; instead, it is her morality and virginity which are in need of protection. Since this seems to be something of the past (for modern readers), the maintaining of Belinda's purity can be seen as endearing.

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The Rape of the Lock

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