5 Dec 2018

MA English Part.1 Poem,The Rape of the Lock ,as a mock heroic poem

The Rape of the Lock as a Mock Epic

1.The Little is Made Great,and the great little.How does it happen in "The Rape of the Lock"?
2. The Rape of the Lock' is a heroic comical poem.Discuss?
3. Write a note on the mock heroic characteristics of "The Rape of the Lock."?


A mock epic poem is the parody of the epic poem.In the epic poem the subject matter is serious and universal whereas in the mock epic poem the subject matter is trivial one.The epic poem follows a grand style in a serious way but a mock epic poem discusses that style in a funny way.We can say that a mock heroic poem ridicules the quality of an epic poem.

Here in this poem ,"The Rape of the Lock", Pope very successfully makes fun of the epic style.This poem is remarkable for its wit and fancy. Tillotson rightly says;
                      "It mocks at the maximum amount of epic."

In this poem,the trivial theme is treated in the grand manner.It contains the parodies of Homer,Spenser,Virgil,Milton and Ariosto.Belinda s' voyage to the Hampton Court suggests the voyage of Aeneas up the Tiber in Virgil.The coffee party in "The Rape of the Lock" is a parody of the meals frequently described in Homer.Belinda s' petticoat is treated as the shield of  Ajax and her lamenting is the parody of Virgil s' Dido.

It is a poem full of many contrasts:primitive-sophisticated,antique-contemporary,masculine-feminine,dramatic-historic etc.The Rape f the Lock is a poem ridiculing the fashionable world of t Pope s' days.

There is an element of artificiality in Pope s' poetry.The whole panorama is limited to the aristocratic life of the 18th century.His poetry is called artificial because he uses similes,metaphors,bathos,juxtapositions and heroic couplet in his poetry.The action in the poem revolves around the cutting of the lock of the hair from a lady s' head.

In an epic,the poet invokes the attention of the Muses to raise the status of the poem.It was a trend and style of the epic.In "The Rape of the Lock" Pope also opens his mock epic poem with an invocation,suggesting the theme of the poem.

              "Say what strange motive,Goddess,could compel,
               A well bred lord to assault a gentle belle?"

The action opens in a mock heroic manner with the awakening of Belinda who is the heroine of the poem.She is the goddess of beauty and charm.He ,Pope, highlights her physical charm i,e sparkling cross and white breast.She is so beautiful that she can dazzle the beams of the Sun.

She has nourished two lovely locks of hairs which can entrap the lovers easily.She rolls her eyes to attract the attention of the lovers.Her heart moves from one lover to another just like a toy shop.

Belinda s' smile resembles the smile of Shakespeare s' Cleopatra.When Belinda smiles , all the world becomes gay.Like Cleopatra ,she also is the perfection of beauty and the winner of the men.

In an epic poem , the role of the machinery-the supernatural elements can not be denied.Pope also makes use of the super natural elements in his poem, "The Rape of the lock."Pope took the name of Ariel from Shakespeare s' The Tempest' and he took the idea of the Sylphs from a French Book,Lecomts do Gabalis.

            "Fairest of the mortals,thou distinguished care,
             Of thousands bright inhabitants of air."

There is the mischievous gnome who like the Milton s' Satan, is intent upon making Belinda miserable.Belinda s' toilet is another engaging account in which Pope has attributed in a perfectly mock heroic manner.

           "Now awful beauty puts on all its arms,
              Fair rises each moment in her charm."

After decorating her body and getting fully ready,she goes out for boating.A crowed of onlookers gathers around her to have a glimpse of her beauty.She is showering eyes equally to all but gives no particular attention to anyone.When she smiles , all the world becomes gay.

A fight in the mock heroic manner begins between the followers of Belinda and the followers of Baron.The spirits help in fight just as gods and goddesses did in the Trojan war described by Homer.Belinda was in the fight and demands the return of her lock.

      "Restore the lock", she cries and all around,
        "Restore the lock" the vaulted roofs rebound".

Summing up the discussion, we can say that Pope s' "The Rape of the Lock" is the best example of the mock heroic poem.


  1. very useful. sir please upload whole notes for syllabus of MA English of UOS.

  2. Outstanding work.thanks.
    ....please upload all
    notes .