In "THE RAPE OF THE LOCK" little has been made great, and the great little. Comment?answer in detail

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lindseywarren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The reason why this happens in "The Rape of the Lock" is because it is a mock epic.  "The Rape of the Lock" is a satire meant to criticize, through humor, the pettiness and frivolity of the upper echelons of society.  Satire was an extremely popular mode of writing in the eighteenth century, and "The Rape of the Lock" stands out as perhaps the most important piece in the genre; it is also the premier example of mock epic in English.

In a traditional epic (such as Homer's Odyssey), the narrative describes a great hero as he completes an epic journey or task of huge importance; in The Odyssey, Odysseus is a king who fought a war and has to travel for a decade through numerous perils to return to his kingdom.  The subject matter of The Odyssey is obviously epic.  In contrast, "The Rape of the Lock" describes a real-life scandal in eighteenth-century English society, in which a lock of a young woman named Arabella Fermor's hair was cut off by an uninvited suitor.  By using the style and mode of epic to describe this unimportant event (that society was treating as scandalous), Pope makes the little (this issue) into something great and important sounding; however, he does it with a tongue-in-cheek style that critiques the hype surrounding the event.  For example, he turns the dressing routine of the heroine into an epic catalogue, and describes a game of cards as if it were an epic battle.

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The Rape of the Lock

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