The Rape of The Lock: Lines 204-248 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 204-248. Not a less.....add a furbelow.

      Summary: Pope satirizes the vanities of women in the speech of Ariel. Ariel says: "The humble sphere of our duty is to take care of beautiful ladies. This is no doubt a less dignified duty but in no way less pleasant. This duty is to prevent the powder from being swept away by a violent wind or to retain the scent of the perfumes on their person. It also consists of making new dyes from the flowers of spring or to gather secretly from the rainbows a dazzling lotion before they dissolve in rain. Our duties are also to curl the waving hair of the ladies, make their blushes more charming and enable them to pose more charmingly. Not only that, we often instruct the ladies in their dream how to change the plaited border of a skirt or add a ornamental trimming to a petticoat."

      Critical Analysis: In these lines, Pope is gently sarcastic on the vanities of the fair sex as regards their artificial modes of improving their physical charms. The various duties of the sylphs are all related to the ladies who consider their dress, complexion and external manners, etc. the very sum and substance of their social lives. The most fashionable among them are so taken up with the frivolous but all-important thought of leading the fashion that in their dreams they catch suggestions of trimming their petticoat to better effect. Addison, in The Spectator, has several passages dealing with these foolish vanities of the fair sex.

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