Posted at 12.31.2018
In Canto III of Alexander Pope's "The Rape of the Lock, " Pope details Belinda's overseeing of an challenge of not-so-epic proportions: "Belinda now, whom thirst of fame invites, / Burns up to encounter two advent'rous Knights, / At Ombre singly to choose their doom; / And swells her breast with conquests yet to come" (III. 25-8). Pope has given Belinda the power to demand the troop, to determine the actions of a battle between subjects of any deck of playing cards. If we read this passing as an instance of womanly electric power and control, we can not overlook the actual lack of significance of what is developing. While Pope will not assume that all women are foolish and not capable of performing duties, his overall view of women presents itself in "The Rape of the Lock" as negative. Pope's knowledge of the role of women was greatly influenced by societal perceptions that ladies were substandard tools of men. Although it is clear that "The Rape of the Lock" is meant to be always a mock-epic, it is not completely clear if Pope intended to reveal a submissive view of women based on society's views. Irrespective, Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" explores the power of women by using Belinda as mock hero who are able to do little or nothing by herself; she constantly depends on others to perform duties. By portraying Belinda as a powerful woman as the first choice in a mock challenge, Pope effectively exaggerates any sense of true ability that Belinda possesses. In the end, Pope, the man/poet, exerts his final act of electricity over Belinda, the woman, by immortalizing not Belinda but his individual work.
While the eighteenth hundred years was not automatically a period of visible conflicting societal views of women and their tasks, there was discussion over whether or not women were in a natural way submissive or maybe bred to work as tools of men. In "Rights of Women, " feminist Mary Wollstonecraft thought that women acquired weak thoughts and physiques and blamed this problem on a bogus sense of education. She thought it was through culture, not biology, that girls became submissive tools and this women's conduct and manners would improve if indeed they were educated to reason. Jean Jacques Rousseau, on the other hands, believed that it was vital to educate women in line with the needs of men. In his publication Emile, Rousseau outlines ways to make certain women are restricted to an exclusive, domesticate world and the way to create an orderly home and familial life (Caine 89). Rousseau believed women should be educated directly according to their relations with men. They might learn skills such as how to please men, how to be beneficial to men, how to get men's love and esteem, and how to make life nice and agreeable to men (104). Rousseau also believed that women should be unaggressive and weak. Clearly, conflicting discussions on the functions and targets of women been around, and Pope's "Rape of the Lock" does indeed little to clarify the problem.
While on one level sympathetic toward having less women's opportunities in a patriarchal society, "Rape" also perpetuates portraying women as goods. Pope is aware of the culturally limited parameters located around women and is, in a single sense, sympathetic. He is aware that "she who scorns a guy, must die a Maid" (V. 28). While men aren't treated especially well in the poem, such as the "barren"-minded Baron or the idiotic Sir Plume, women in the text seem to be to remain the object of both ridicule and criticism.
Belinda's heroic action has no depth. "When Belinda is victorious ombre, her entire persona agency has become transferred to and embodied in a playing greeting card. Belinda has simply acquired a card game. She's not basically conquered a far-away land. Her ability only goes as far as the credit cards, meaningless paper things that will be the true survivors of the old heroic virtues. Belinda's true durability or valor is greatly reduced.
If Belinda's determination to religion is ornamental and draws in primarily intimate attention, then we ought to assume that the idea of Belinda's chastity and innocence is ornamental and superficial. Pope gives us the hair of head of hair as small but commanding machines of sexual power. Belinda takes the time to curl her mane such that it is appealing to men. Pope represents, "This Nymph, to the Devastation of Mankind, / Nourish'd two Hair, which graceful hung behind / In similar Curls / With glowing Ringlets the simple Iv'ry Throat" (Dark II. 19-24). Making the effort to repair her locks is not really a crime, nor is it the one which is punishable by rape. By putting so much emphasis on locks, however, Belinda has taken the emphasis off of her genuine chastity and beliefs. "'Rape' comes from the Latin verb 'to seize' and does not etymologically imply sexual possession; but in terms of erotic politics, the Baron plainly conceives that if Belinda has switched her sexuality into an subject, she can be possessed" (Baines 68). If Belinda's Bible, cross necklace, and mane are mere things, so too is her chastity.
By looking at Belinda's chastity as an object, we also must consider Pope's implication that people should look at Belinda herself as thing. As mentioned, women were seen as tools of men. In canto 2, the 'beauteous Mildew' is transformed into a 'colored Vessel'- it is kept up to us either to check out Belinda as the stunning battleship decked out in Beauty's arm, or even to take the broader interpretation, the thought of girl as a included, clear but beautiful. Belinda's greatest power arises from the actual fact that she actually is not really aware of what she is leading the Baron to do or of what catastrophe may befall her. She actually is not guided by her own decisions. Instead, the sylphs tend to her, both bodily and mentally. "This erring mortals Levity may call; / Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive everything" (Dark colored I. 104-5). Belinda cannot contrive her own ideas or perform her own jobs because she is constantly along with the sylphs. Without an opportunity to perform her own serves, Belinda is relatively suppressed. Pope does not inherently discuss this suppression as a societal one, but the sylphs guard women, while men are independently. In this contemporary society, men do not need to rely on imaginary animals. By placing Belinda in the treatment of such creatures, Pope implicitly points out a woman's inherent dependence on something or another person.
By the poem's end, Belinda's lock has been removed, against her will, by a guy who assumes control over her. While we can sympathize with Belinda for her loss, we can not forget about Pope's true intentions in the poem. During the eighteenth century, middle- and lower-class women were becoming more literate in the homeowners, but men were still the scholarly experts of Pope's time. Pope is the ultimate power of his own work. Unlike Belinda, who needs the sylphs to help her achieve her tasks, Pope succeeds because of his own pen. The real hero, the true remembered figure, will be Pope, the author.
Pope ends the poem by implying that Belinda and her lock will live permanently. Inexplicably, matching to Belinda or the Baron's way of reasoning, the lock is fully gone to become a comet or a firing star. Pope writes, "A sudden Star, it shot thro' liquid Air" (Dark V. 127). However the lock is fully gone, Belinda will have fame. People will bear in mind her. Pope's final words are: "When those good suns shall place, as placed they must / This Lock, the Muse shall consecrate to fame / And 'midst the superstars inscribe Belinda's name" (V. 147, 149-50). Despite the fact that Pope writes that Belinda's name will always be remembered, we cannot forget his previous statement when explaining Belinda's hair: "But since, alas! frail Beauty must decay, / Curl'd or uncurl'd, since Hair will turn to gray; / Since coated, or not colored, all shall fade" (V. 25-7). The thought of Belinda may be consecrated to popularity, but the lock will be lost in space or the world of another time. The symbol of chastity, innocence, and womanhood is surpassed by Pope's actual textual work. By juxtaposing the mortal nature of Belinda's lock with the immortal aspect of his poem, Pope asserts, for the last time, man's ability over a woman.
In "The Rape of the Lock, " Pope has given Belinda the power to showcase instances of command and power. That is interesting because during Pope's literary time, women were considered mere tools of men and lacked any sense of power. Any time Pope presents Belinda as a powerful figure, that expert is quickly undermined and questioned by what she actually controls. Belinda is constantly aided by wispy sylphs and can effectively do little or nothing on her own; such a display leads the reader to question if Pope will abide by the societal belief that ladies were inferior compared to men. Although Belinda will have popularity, and people will remember her, it is ultimately Pope the man/poet who exerts the final work of male dominance by immortalizing not Belinda but his own poem.