The Rape of The Lock: Lines 403-406 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 403-406. Straight hover round.....brocade

      Summary: Just at the time, while Belinda was enjoying the feast with the two Lords and was sipping the coffee, there descended on the beautiful figure of the lady a race of airy beings. They hovered round her to enhance her grace and to protect her against any barbarous attack on her chastity. Some of these airy beings fanned and cooled the hot and steaming coffee for Belinda with their flapping wings; while others carefully alighted on her lap displayed their beautiful and colored wings. They were conscious and trembling lest they spoiled the beauty of the rich brocade garments that Belinda had put on.

      Critical Analysis: Commenting on these airy beings, Wilson Knight, an eminent critic, says: The use of supernatural machinery is clever. These light militia of the lower sky increase the dramatic suspense and therefore the story's depth, since, they foreknow and warn of the central disaster—they help to universalize semi-humorously the whole action, forming indeed the tending symbolism of this little drama, related to certain paradisal and hellish colorings, touching Dante, Shakespeare and Milton. They live in the pure upper light, guide orbs in heaven, and like Ariel can follow the shooting stars in moonlight and are associated with rainbow, mists, tempest and earth. They guard the British throne. They recall the attendant spirit in Comus.

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