Would you consider ALEXANDER POPE a misogynist after reading "THE RAPE OF THE LOCK"answer in detail

whirlingdervish | Student
In writing The Rape of the Lock, Alexander Pope is critiquing the social mores of the Augustan Age by utilizing the mock epic genre of writing. It is important to look at Pope's treatment of the women characters in the light of his own personal (often problematic) relationship with women. He was painfully shy around women, apparently due to a bodily deformity that occurred to him due to disease, but he bragged to his friends and acquaintances in his correspondence with them that he bedded many prostitutes. However, it is also known that he sympathized with the hardships that women had to face during his time, and is known to have supported financially a female friend of his who had been abandoned by her spouse. This sympathy did not extend, however, to female authors. Disdaining female authors was of course the social norm of the time, and Pope was no different in this regard. One may argue that while Belinda is shown as a flat figure who doesn't evolve at all, Clarissa's role is very ambiguous. Ultimately, whether Pope is seen as a misogynist or not depends on your analysis of him in his own social context. Living in a society of misogynists, can he be really any different unless he is radically so? At the end of the day, you must also remember that Pope is hoping to address a larger and new female readership with his work, and in doing so is talking directly to a lot of women through his work. In his work, he embeds the moral compass of his day, which necessitated its women to be sexually "chaste". This chastity is Belinda's crowning virtue, but there are times where Pope reveals that there is more to the story, ie in the line, "hairs less in sight, or any hairs but these...
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