The Rape of The Lock: Lines 415-420 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 415-420. But when to.....for the fight.

      Summary: Here the poet says that human nature is inexorable. Once human beings decide upon an evil course of action, it is very difficult to dissuade them from such an act. The moment they resolve to commit some mischief, they find suitable weapons to enable them to execute their evil design. The proper instrument is never lacking. Just at the time when Lord Petre decided to clip away the lock of Belinda's hair, Clarissa, a lady sitting close to the Baron Lord Petre, handed over to him a pair of scissors for the execution of his evil design. She did it so gracefully that she reminded one of the medieval romance and tournaments. Ladies in the medieval age, equipped their knights and gallant heroes with weapons of battle and necessary arms. This was a grand show. Similarly, Clarissa took out with a charming grace of two-edged weapons from her shining case and handed over the same to Lord Petre.

      Critical Analysis: The whole picture is a parody of the epic and helps to increase the satiric value of the poem. The mock-epic intention is more pronounced by a reference to such minor details which normally seem to have little bearing on works of art.

      Pope has elevated such an ordinary thing like scissors and a foolish child's prank, like cutting off a lock of hair to the epic heights of a war. The result, of course, is that the characters, far from looking like epic heroes, look extremely ridiculous and that no doubt was Pope's intention.

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