The Rape of The Lock: Lines 391-394 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 391-394. Oh thoughtless mortals.....this victorious day

      Summary: These lines refer to the last phase of the game of Ombre. The Baron had a sweeping victory Belinda in the second phase of the game. Belinda has lost the color of her face just because she apprehended the terrible disaster-her defeat at the game of Ombre. When she had a sudden victory over the lords and she finally won the game, her joy knew no bounds. She shouted with joy and her shouts of joy echoed back through walls, woods and the long canal that lay close to the Hampton Court.

      Critical Analysis: In these, the poet suddenly changes the tone. He assumes a serious and somber outlook. He bursts into a powerful prediction of the irony of the circumstance. The poet says that ladies are naturally frivolous and he makes a general comment on human beings. Men are thoughtless and foolish. They don't have much of balance and poise. They get either too soon elated or to soon depressed. When there is a cause for merriment, they burst into an ecstatic rapture. But if there is anything sad and serious they become highly depressed. These human beings are blind to the decrees of Fate. Lady Belinda bursts into screams of joy at her sudden victory in the game of Ombre. But she was not aware of the ironical implication of chance. Her ecstatic screams of joy were pregnant with drastic consequences. She did not know that these honors which curse this victorious day forever throughout her life. This day shall remind her of the insult and humiliation that she will have to suffer.

      The lines have a prophetic strain. The poet, by his careful comment on the frivolity of Belinda, intensifies the dramatic suspense of the story. The poet heightens the tone deliberately to raise the mock-epic into a grand parody of the classical. There is an epic and tragic, prediction of the impending disaster which sharpens the satirical angle of the poem and heightens the emotional impact of the satire on our mind.

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