The Rape of the Lock Questions and Answers
by Alexander Pope

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In "The Rape of the Lock," by Alexander Pope, what are the elaborate descriptions of weapons and battle?    

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Lord Caryll, a prominent Catholic friend of Alexander Pope’s, asked Pope to write a light poem about an actual incident that occurred within their circle of friends. The incident involved Lord Petre cutting off a lock of Arabella Femor’s hair. As a result of this “tragedy,” Lord Petre’s and Femor’s families began to dislike one another. In an attempt to reconcile the two families, Lord Caryll asked Pope to point out how ridiculous it was to feud over such a petty incident. Pope agreed to write the poem and the mock-epic poem, “The Rape of the Lock,” was born.

In my opinion, the battle satirized in the poem is not a physical battle, but rather a battle of the sexes between Belinda and Baron. The weapons used by Belinda are the vanity and beauty of an 18th Century socialite and the weapons used by Baron are the pride and cockiness of a young man wanting to make a conquest. The actual act of rape in the poem is not a sexual assault—it is the cutting of Belinda’s...

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