What two questions about "motives" does pope want the Muse to answer?

Asked on by meaves17

1 Answer | Add Yours

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The first question that Pope asks the muse to answer explicitly involves motive:

Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred Lord t' assault a gentle Belle?

The second question is essentially an inversion of the first:

...what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle Belle reject a Lord?

Obviously, the poem is an attempt to answer these questions through what is best described as a "mock epic." The invocation of the muse was a common device used by epic poets since the days of Homer, and by using it in this poem, he gives the subject matter a bit of gravitas. By describing a (real life) event that really isn't all that important in the grand scheme of things in epic terms, Pope pokes fun at the vanity and self-absorbed nature of many of his fellow Englishmen. The form, more than the content, of the introduction is part of the satire.


We’ve answered 320,053 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question