Alexander pope is considered one of the greatest poets of enlightenment, the age of reason which refers to the time of the guiding intellectual movement. It covers about a century and a half in Europe especially in France and Switzerland. The physical defects that pope suffers made him an easy target for heartless mockery, he wrote “the rape of the lock” to satirize a petty squabble by comparing it to the epic world of gods. It was based on an incident recounted by pope’s friend “ john caryll” the muse who inspired him with the story of Arabella and her suitor lord peter.
They both from aristocratic catholic families and he had cut off one of Arabella’s locks without her permission , this consequent argument had created a breach between the two families . pope who was also a catholic wrote this poem in attempt to “comically merge the two”. He utilized the character “Belinda” to represent “ Arabella” and introduced an entire system of “sylphs” or guardian spirits of virgins , a parodic version of gods and goddess of convential epic.
Pope introduces this poem in heroic couplets with a rhyme scheme aa bb cc dd ee ff gg. A line of verse is mostly written in iambic pentameter of 10 syllables. The first is accented the second is accented the third is not the fourth accented and so on…. The repetition of phonemes creates a special music which captures a listener’s ears and attention , like the alliteration of the ‘s’ sound in send and , in addition of the assonance in send and bell.