Research Paper Idea on The Rape of the Lock
The Rape of the Lock as a Mock Epic
Alexander Pope was an 18th century English poet. He was best known for his satirical verses and mocking poetry. He wrote many great poems among which ‘An Essay on Criticism’, ‘The Rape of the Lock’, and ‘Essay on man’ are the most prominent poems. His poem, The Rape of the Lock is considered as the finest mock-epic of the 18th century. The central incident in the poem is the theft of a lock of hair and the resulting quarrel between two families.
The Rape of the Lock is a mock-heroic narrative poem. In this poem, Pope has mocked the triviality of the contemporary period. At his time, the trivial matters held much importance. In the title, the poet associates the serious matter of ‘rape’ with the trivial theft of a ‘lock of the hair’. By doing this, he showed how unnecessary things were given serious attention at that time.
His poem is written in five cantos. The poem satirizes a minor incident by comparing it to the epic world of gods. The poem was inspired by an actual incident which had been recounted by his friend, John Caryll. It was about the members of the aristocratic-catholic family. Peter, having a high rank in the society, cut off a lock of hair of Arabella without her permission. This act created a breach between two families. The narrative of the poem revolved around this incident.