Epic Conventions in Rape Of The Lock English Literature Essay (2023)

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The Rape of the Lock is a mock epic by Alexander Pope, one of the most influential writers of the 18th century. Alexander Pope was one of the greatest satirists of the august age, also aiming to educate and entertain readers at the same time. The Rape of the Lock was first published in 1712 with just two songs. However, in 1717 the final form of this poem was published and it contained five songs and also a heroic couplet. The poem is based on a true story about two rival aristocratic families, the Petres and the Fermors. "Young Lord Petre had cut a lock of the hair of Arabella Fermor, an elegant society girl, and both she and her family were offended by it. Pope had been informed of the incident by his Catholic friend John Caryll, who asked him if he could write a poem to joke about the separation between the two families and laugh together again" (escribd).

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The epic, also known as a heroic poem, tells the story of a hero whose deeds are of great importance and also have national significance. It is usually a long narrative poem, written in style to suit its important subject. Some of the examples of heroic poetry are Homer's Iliad, John Milton's Paradise Lost, Richard Blackmore's King Arthur, Robert Southey's Joan of Arc and Keats's Hyperion. Pseudo-epic poems, on the other hand, are the parody of serious epic poems. It uses the structure of an epic poem, in which the language is grand but miniature, and the meaning of the subject is trivial. Feigned-heroic poetry combines the characteristics of different speeches like epic, comedy, parody and satire. Alexander Pope uses mock heroic style in The Rape of the Lock not to ridicule the heroic genre, but to mock and mock the elegant society of his day.

At the beginning of an epic poem, the author often invokes the muse for divine encouragement in telling the story of a great hero. Usually the writer names one of the "nine daughters of Zeus".[1]' (homepage) to sanctify your poetry. The hero of an epic poem is always an important figure of national or even cosmic importance. “He usually has superhuman or godlike qualities. He is of imposing physical stature and is in every respect taller than the common man” (Homepage). In The Rape of the Lock, however, Alexander Pope invokes his Catholic friend John Caryll as his muse, giving him the blessing of telling the story not of a great hero but of a vain rich woman named Belinda. Alexander Pope uses Belinda and the Baron as the main characters in his poem to mock men and women of aristocratic families. Belinda is not a powerful heroine, but a beautiful young woman from a fashionable society who has no other responsibility than to look presentable in front of society every day. For example, Belinda only wakes up around midnight, has a lap dog and servants who dress her for any occasion.

"The sun cast a timid ray through the white curtains,

and op'd those eyes that shall overshadow the day;

Now the little dogs shake themselves loud

(Video) Alexander Pope The Rape of the Lock | POEM ANALYSIS | Mock-Epic Genre, Scale, Antithesis, & Zeugma

And the sleepless lovers, barely at twelve o'clock, wake up:

The bell rang three times, the shoe fell to the floor,

And the pressed watch gave back a silver hue.

Belinda continues to be your soft pillow” (Papa).

So it's clear that Pope makes fun of fashionable society for not being responsible and doing things their own way. They wasted money because they were rich and even needed servants to take care of them like children.

So, in an epic poem, a hero prepares himself well for a great battle, arming himself with mail, shield, sword, axes, daggers, bow and arrows. Such weapons and armor not only protect the hero, but also instill fear in his enemy. For example, in the Iliad, Thetis' arming of Achilles for the battlefields of Troy is described with great grandeur. Belinda, on the other hand, arms herself with beautiful brocades, makeup, Arabian perfumes and glittering Indian jewelry, and carries combs and safety pins made from elephant tusks and tortoiseshell to face high society every day. She goes through the lengthy process of beautification with the help of her maid Betty to look presentable and attractive to guys and make women envy her beauty.

"The tortoise here and the elephant unite,

Transformed into combs, the speckled and white ones.

Here rows of needles spread their luminous rows,

Puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, billet-doux.

Now the terrible beauty raises all her arms;

The fair rises in its charms at every moment,

Fix your smile, wake up all the grace,

and calls all the wonders of his countenance;

(Video) An analysis of the characteristics in the epic poem the Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

sees a purer blush gradually arising,

And sharper lightning flashes in his eyes.” (Potato)

In these lines from The Rape of the Lock, Pope ridicules the vanity of fashionable society, which values ​​physical beauty over intellectual beauty. They spend several hours in front of their mirrors preparing as if preparing for a great siege; but really they just wanted to meet their friends and have a good time. Belinda in The Rape of the Lock made it through the long and tedious dressing session just to meet up with her friends and play a game of ombre cards and woo potential suitors. In the poem, Pope even says that when one looks at Belinda's beautiful face, all defects disappear, and goes on to emphasize that beauty is much more valuable to the aristocrats of his time than knowledge. they hide; if feminine errors overtake them, they fall” (Pope).

In an epic poem, the hero always prays at his altar for the blessings of gods and goddesses such as "Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera, Aries, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite, Hermes, Artemis and Hephaestus" (Greek mythology). in whatever they wanted. For example, Odysseus prays to the goddess Athena.[2]so that he could finally return to his wife and child after years of struggle. In The Rape of the Keyhole, on the other hand, we find Belinda adoring and admiring her own heavenly reflection in front of the mirror every day. Her maiden then becomes a priestess who performs beautifying rites for her day after day. Instead of gods and goddesses, Belinda's altar is filled with "pin files extending their bright rows, puffs, powders, patches, Bibles, boletus-doux" (Pope). However, Baron keeps garters, gloves, love letters and trophies from his former lovers on his altar. Now she also plans to add Belinda's Castle to her altar collection. In these lines of the poem, Pope seems to be saying that religion and belief are meaningless to upper-class men and women. They value their beauty and their material things much more than education, religion and morality. For Belinda, the Bible is just an unimportant item between makeup and love letters. Later, in the second canto of The Abduction from the Keyhole, we can see that Belinda wears a cross around her neck as an ornament and not as an act of piety. "On his white breast he wore a magnificent cross, which the Jews kissed and the unbelievers adored" (Pope).

The divine characters in epic poetry are a family of gods who live on Mount Olympus and often intervene in people's lives, observing and influencing their lives and decisions. They help guide people who are physically and mentally challenged, especially in big battles. The gods feel compelled to intervene when they feel that man is deviating from his destiny. These powerful characters are called epic machines. For example, in Homer's Odyssey, Zeus helped Odysseus escape the island of Ogygia, where Odysseus was held captive for seven years. By contrast, in Pope's The Rape of the Lock, Belinda was aided by denizens of the air such as fairies, gnomes, nymphs, sylphs, and salamanders. Belinda receives special attention from the sylphs. These magical creatures from the poem did not help her in battle, but they helped Belinda to look beautiful and respectable all day. Each sylph takes it upon herself to protect her hair, dress, makeup, jewelry, her puppy, Shock, and most importantly, her petticoat for Ariel.[3]they "unfortunately saw a dreadful event to come" (Pope). Ariel warned Belinda in advance, but she forgot everything the moment she saw her "billet-doux" (father). So now it's up to them to protect their looks and honor.

"He spake; the spirits of the candles descend;

Some, orb after orb, spread around the nymph,

some among the labyrinthine curls of her hair,

Some hang from their ear amulets;

With beating hearts, they await the dreadful event.

Anxious and trembling before the birth of destiny” (Pope).

In epic poems like The Odyssey and The Aeneid, both Odysseus and Aeneas traveled the seas on important missions, encountering many dangers along the way. Pope In The Rape of the Lock parodies these epics of Belinda taking a boat down the Thames to Hampton Court to play the ombre game with her friends of the same social status.

"Where the Thames proudly gazes upon its towering towers,

There is a Majestick frame structure,

(Video) Epic Conventions in Paradise Lost Book1 | Lecture 10 #paradiselost #johnmilton

Named after neighboring Hampton” (Papa).

It also follows Pope and parodies the heroic battles depicted in his poem The Rape of the Lock. In the epic poem Beowulf, Beowulf had to face three battles with terrible beasts to save innocent lives. In The Rape of the Lock, Belinda's ombre piece with her friends was portrayed as a war by Pope. Cards were portrayed as warriors and words such as troops, battle, war, invasion and armies were used by Pope to describe and intensify the tension during a game of ombre between Belinda and her aristocratic friends, who took the game seriously. Even magical creatures are included in the game for Belinda to win the game.

“So far, both armies have given way to Belinda;

Now fate bows to the baron.

Your warrior Amazon invades your company,

The Imperial Consort of Piccrow.

The club's black tyrant is its first victim” (Pope).

Later in the poem, when the baron cut off one of Belinda's locks, a great dispute ensued, also portrayed as a fight by Alexander Pope. Instead of weapons, screams, frowns, punches and dangerous glares were used during the violent argument between Belinda and the baron.

"Then the living flashes of his eyes flashed,

And screams of terror tear the frightened sky.

No louder cry is sent to heaven for mercy” (Pope).

The ombre game and fight after Belinda's lock is cut was exaggerated in The Rape of the Lock because Pope wanted to suggest that upper-class society takes them seriously when in reality they are trivial matters. As trifles are taken too seriously, the Petres and the Fermors broke up, and this poem was meant to show them how stupid they were.

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(Video) The Rape of The Lock As Mock Epic/ Complete Translated Answer

In summary, Alexander Pope definitely used epic conventions for satirical purposes in his poem The Rape of the Lock, specifically to mock aristocrats, their lifestyles and perceptions. Because Pope Alexander is a man of Augustus, he wrote this poem using epic conventions to exaggerate the absurdity of upper-class society so that readers would not only laugh at the poem's satire, but also learn and change for the better. 🇧🇷

works cited

Hamilton, Edith. "Olympic Games". Greek mythology. with. April 1, 2010.

Leadbetter, Ron. "Zeus". Enzyklopädie Mythica™. 2. April 2010.

Effinger, Sandra. "The Epic". homepage.mac. with. April 3, 2010.

"Breaching the Lock". scribd. with. April 3, 2010.

Pope, Alexander. The Rapture of the Castle and Other Poems. London: Signet Classical Poetry Series, 1906.

Michael, Cummings. "Breach of breach: a study guide". cummingsstudyguides.net. April 4, 2010.

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What are the 4 epic conventions? ›

Iliad – Greek. Odyssey – Greek. Beowulf – English. Mahabharata (Best of Bharata – his descendants) and The Ramayana – Indian.

What are the 5 conventions of an epic? ›

Epic Conventions
  • In medias res. “In medias res” is Latin for “in the middle of things”; it means that a narrative begins in the middle of a story's action, rather than at the beginning. ...
  • Invocation. ...
  • Statement of theme. ...
  • Stock epithets. ...
  • Cataloguing. ...
  • Long, formal speeches. ...
  • Divine Intervention. ...
  • Epic Digressions.
Sep 13, 2016

What is the conventions of an epic story? ›

The conventions of this genre are several: (a) It is a long narrative about a serious or worthy traditional subject. (b) Its diction is elevated in style. It employs a formal, dignified, objective tone and many figures of speech.

What are 3 typical conventions of an epic? ›

Epic Conventions, or characteristics common to both types include:
  • The hero is a figure of great national or even cosmic importance, usually the ideal man of his culture. ...
  • The setting is vast in scope. ...
  • The action consists of deeds of valor or superhuman courage (especially in battle).

What are the 3 types of convention? ›

Different types of conventions include form conventions, story conventions and genre conventions.

What are the 7 elements of an epic? ›

Six Elements Of The Epic:
  • Plot centers around a Hero of Unbelievable Stature. ...
  • Involves deeds of superhuman strength and valor. ...
  • Vast Setting. ...
  • Involves supernatural and-or otherworldly forces. ...
  • Sustained elevation of style. ...
  • Poet remains objective and omniscient.

What are the epic conventions and the key elements of the hero? ›

The eight elements of an Epic Hero Cycle are: (1) the main character has to be possessed of supernatural abilities; (2) the hero is charged with a quest; (3) the hero is tested, often to prove the worthiness of himself and his quest; (4) the presence of numerous mythical beings, magical and helpful animals, and human ...

What are the 6 genre conventions? ›

Genre conventions are elements, themes, topics, tropes, characters, situations, and plot beats that are common in specific genres.

Which are examples of conventions? ›

Conventions include both mechanics (spelling, punctuation, and capitalization; used for written language) and usage (grammar; part of both spoken and written language). Four categories of conventions are spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and grammar.

What are the conventions of literature? ›

Literary conventions are the features of a literary work that define its genre. These elements can be tropes, arcs, clichés, or certain devices that help distinguish how your audience will classify your literary text.

What are the types of literary conventions? ›

What are four literary conventions? In literature, authors often engage with specific conventions. These go beyond genre requirements and get to the heart of what stories are and do. They include conflict, dialogue, setting, and conclusions.

What are nine conventions of an epic poem? ›

The standard nine conventions include: opening in medias res; use of a vast setting that covers many nations, the world, or the universe; beginning with an invocation of the muse, starting with a statement of the theme; use of epithets; inclusion of catalogues; long and formal speeches; depiction of divine intervention ...

What are the 7 characteristics of an epic hero? ›

There are seven main traits of epic heroes; they are of noble birth or elevated status. They have superhuman capabilities, are a vast traveler, an unmatched warrior, a cultural legend, demonstrate humility, and finally, battle superhuman foes.

What are elements of an epic in literature? ›

The word "epic" comes from Latin epicus and from Greek epikos, meaning "a word; a story; poetry in heroic verse." The elements that typically distinguish epics include superhuman deeds, fabulous adventures, highly stylized language, and a blending of lyrical and dramatic traditions, which also extend to defining heroic ...

What are two convention examples? ›

  • We go to the weeklong annual teachers' convention every summer.
  • He bought some new books at the science fiction convention.
  • a constitutional convention [=a meeting in which political leaders create a constitution]
  • The Democratic National Convention will meet next week to announce their party's candidate for president.

What is the purpose of conventions? ›

A convention, in the sense of a meeting, is a gathering of individuals who meet at an arranged place and time in order to discuss or engage in some common interest. The most common conventions are based upon industry, profession, and fandom.

What were three main issues discussed at the convention? ›

In May, 55 delegates came to Philadelphia, and the Constitutional Convention began. Debates erupted over representation in Congress, over slavery, and over the new executive branch.

What are the major themes of an epic? ›

Five significant themes frequently identified in epic poetry are:
  • returning home after a journey.
  • courage in battle and while enduring hardship.
  • upholding the honor of oneself and one's nation.
  • revenge on enemies.
  • loyalty.

What are the five main qualities of an epic hero? ›

Use them to help you decide if a character is, indeed, an epic hero or heroine.
  • A Noble Birth.
  • Capable of deeds of great strength and courage.
  • Great Warrior.
  • Travels Over a Vast Setting.
  • National Heroism.
  • Humility.
  • Faces Supernatural Foes and/or Receives Supernatural Help.

What are the 10 characteristics of an epic? ›

Terms in this set (10)
  • 1) magical protective devices. The hero is given magical protective devices.
  • 2) character traits. ...
  • 3) theme. ...
  • 4) formal diction and serious tone. ...
  • 5) long, formal speeches. ...
  • 6) timeless values- courage and honor. ...
  • 7) setting vast in scope. ...
  • 8) universal themes- good and evil, life and death.

What are the 3 qualities of a hero in Homeric epics? ›

Homer's epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey, demonstrate that heroes possess the qualities of pride, selflessness, glory, and bravery, and both of the aforementioned adaptations reinforce these ideals for the modern audience.

What are the 6 characteristics of an epic poem? ›

Terms in this set (6)

A figure of heroic stature, of international importance, and of great historical significance. A setting vast in scope, covering nations, the world, or even the universe. Deeds requiring great valor or superhuman strength. Gods, angels, and demons that take interest in the action and intervene.

What are the 8 characteristics of an epic hero? ›

Terms in this set (8)
  • Champion of freedom. 1st trait of an Epic hero, that supports the idea of heros fighting with the forces of good v. ...
  • Courage. 2nd trait of an Epic hero, when the hero continues the journey or task at hand, after they show fear.
  • Super Strength. ...
  • Devotion. ...
  • Loyalty. ...
  • Love of Glory. ...
  • Justice. ...
  • Weakness.

How many writing conventions are there? ›

What are the conventions of writing? The four major writing conventions include grammar, spelling, punctuation and capitalization.

What is the difference between convention and genre? ›

Different genres are not fixed or discrete categories. Rather, what distinguishes them from each other is the distinctive pattern of what we call conventions. Conventions can be based on what is presented, drawing on the agreed expectations that have already been established within a certain genre.

What is a story convention example? ›

Character, plot, point of view, setting, style, and theme are the examples of narrative conventions. For examples, the characters of the story, the way the incidents take place in the story, narrator's viewpoint, the place of the incidents, they way of narration, and theme of the story are the examples here.

What are the conventions of an epic hero? ›

There are seven main traits of epic heroes; they are of noble birth or elevated status. They have superhuman capabilities, are a vast traveler, an unmatched warrior, a cultural legend, demonstrate humility, and finally, battle superhuman foes.

What are some of the epic conventions found in the Odyssey? ›

In The Odyssey, Homer employs most of the literary and poetic devices associated with epics: catalogs, digressions, long speeches, journeys or quests, various trials or tests of the hero, similes, metaphors, and divine intervention.

What are epic conventions as used in Beowulf? ›

The epic conventions used in Beowulf include formal conventions that prescribe a long narrative poem; content conventions, which require a story about a hero who performs heroic deeds and undertakes a perilous journey; and storytelling conventions, like an episodic approach and the inclusion of descriptions of rituals.

What are the epic conventions in Paradise Lost? ›

And Finally, Milton followed the Epic convention by writing his poem in a style that is truly elevated or sublime, generally known as 'Grand Style'. The way Milton uses his words, sentences rhetorics, allusions all can be summed up in the world sublimity, a style, lofty, grand and majestic truly suited for an epic.

What are the 6 characteristics of an epic hero? ›

Use them to help you decide if a character is, indeed, an epic hero or heroine.
  • A Noble Birth.
  • Capable of deeds of great strength and courage.
  • Great Warrior.
  • Travels Over a Vast Setting.
  • National Heroism.
  • Humility.
  • Faces Supernatural Foes and/or Receives Supernatural Help.

What is a convention of an epic which begins at the middle of the action? ›

IN MEDIAS RES : Technical term for the epic convention of beginning "in the middle of things," rather than at the very start of the story.

What are the three main themes of this epic in the Odyssey? ›

The three most important themes in the Odyssey are hospitality, loyalty, and vengeance.

What are the three most important elements of the plot in each of Homer's epics? ›

Three important elements of the plot of each epic are the Trojan War, the heroism of Odysseus, and the interference of the gods.

What are two conventions of the Odyssey? ›

Standard Conventions

1. Main character is a physically impressive hero of national or international importance and of great historical or legendary significance. 2. The setting is vast in scope, covering great nations, the world, or the universe.

What is the convention used in the poem? ›

The traditional conventions of poetry (the line, hemi- stich, caesura, stanza, meter, rhyme, alliteration, enjambe- ment) are poetic, not linguistic, devices, although the sub- stance and form of most of them are linguistic.

What are 3 things that make Beowulf an epic hero? ›

Beowulf is synonymous with the concept of the epic hero. In this epic poem, we watch as he demonstrates his courage, strength, loyalty, and wisdom, and we see him have no difficulty letting people know who he is and what he is capable of accomplishing.

What are three epic characteristics in Beowulf? ›

Beowulf fits each characteristic throughout the epic. He is distinctly known for being a warrior, a friend, and a loving leader. Beowulf is an epic hero because he has pride, loves glory, and a devoted loyalty to his followers and his country.

What is the central theme of the epic poem Paradise Lost? ›

The purpose or theme of Paradise Lost then is religious and has three parts: 1) disobedience, 2) Eternal Providence, and 3) justification of God to men. Frequently, discussions of Paradise Lost center on the latter of these three to the exclusion of the first two.

What literary devices are used in Paradise Lost? ›

  • All Literary Devices.
  • Allegory.
  • Allusions.
  • Foil.
  • Foreshadowing.
  • Genre.
  • Imagery.
  • Logos.


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