The Rape of The Lock: Lines 153-166 - Summary & Analysis

Also Read

Lines: 153-166. Fair nymphs and.....forget on all

      Summary: The poet here describes one of the fashionable pleasures of the rich and gay of his time—viz; pleasure trips on the Thames in the afternoon in decorated barges. Compare Dryden's reference to the same thing in Mac Flecknoe. Taken as a whole, The Rape of the Lock, is a valuable document of the mode of life of the higher ranks of society in the early eighteenth century. Beautiful girls and finely dressed young men appeared like luminaries around her but all eyes were riveted on her alone. On her white bosom, she wore a shining cross which looked so lovely that Jews and even unbelievers might kiss or worship it. Her lively looks show the liveliness of her mind. They are as sharp and fickle as her eyes.

      In the fullness of her resplendent beauty, Belinda embarked on the Thames and around her shone admiring youths and girls. To none of her admirers, however, did she shows signs of yielding; she just smiled at them in thankfulness, offers were often made to her and she had to reject them, but such was her urbanity that she never offended anyone. Her sparkling eyes, bright as the sun, arrested the attention of the beholders; and like the sun, they shone equally on all, showing no partiality to any admirer. She was without fault; but even if she had any, it would be concealed or rendered imperceptible by her born grace and sweetness of bearing. Anyone suspecting that she had in her some of the frailties of womanhood, would soon forget these when confronted with the beauty of her face.

      Critical Analysis: These lines occur in the beginning of Canto II The Rape of the Lock. Pope's picture of Belinda is enlivened by his delicate satire. The poet takes to hyperbolic language to describe Belinda's charm and conduct. But his banter is effective, and he deftly characterizes her as a perfect coquette who knows how to win favor and deceive others.

Previous Post Next Post