The Rape of The Lock: Lines 500-506 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 500-506. Show in her.....a new disease.

      Summary: The lines under consideration refer to the maid-servant of the goddess Spleen who was named as Affectation. She was old and sickly. She used rouge and thus had an artificial bloom on her face. In this manner, she pretends to be like a young girl of eighteen. She even lisped like a child. She would bend her head to one side. Thus, she posed to be modest and shy, swinging her head to one side to display her modesty and purity. At times she gets swooning fits so as to strike a charming posture and thus win the praise of others. Her pretended illness too is meant to show off her beauty. She lies down on her cozy and rich bed in such a posture that would make her look attractive and draw everybody's attention towards her. People visiting her are convinced of her illness, but actually it is a mere device to show how rich she is. Like all fashionable women who suffer from such a strange mental disease, which leads them to fall ill whenever they have a new gown she too puts on her rich dressing gown when feigning illness so that others may see her rich possession.

      Critical Analysis: It has been truly remarked that Pope had special capacity for observing feminine weakness. Over and above this power of observation, he had the very fine gift of describing the weaknesses in words and phrases which both cut and amuse. No one has so mercilessly exposed the affectations of ladies in that age of affectations, and no one has ever done it with such artistic handling of the piercing lancet of satire.

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