The Rape of The Lock: Lines 445-450 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 445-450. Then flash'd.....painted fragments lie.

      Summary: In these lines, the poet describes the effect of the rashness which was committed upon the lady's hair by Lord Petre. As soon as she become aware of the clipping of the lock, she was mad with terrible rage and gave vent to the most violent temper. Her eyes flashed with anger, like a live-lightning flash. The frightened sky was torn to bits by the angry, violent and piercing shrieks of the distressed lady. Louder shrieks have never resounded through such a frightened sky even when ladies have lost their husbands of their lap dogs. Nor were such wild screams ever sent to the sky by the ladies while bewailing the fall of precious China vessels which broke into bright and fire particles and mingled with the dust on the ground. The poet huddles the death of the husband together with the death of a lap-dog.

      Critical Analysis: Such a skillful use of antithesis and epigrammatic statements, has tremendous effect on the mind of the readers. The poet refers to the shallowness of women for whom the breakage of a piece of crockery or the death of a favorite lap-dog is as serious as the death of a husband. The profound treatment of the trivial serves the purpose of increasing the fury of the ladies with which Pope seeks to whip the hollow sophisticated minds in sense. The fatal blow is unfailing.

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