The Rape of The Lock: Lines 51-66 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 51-66. Thinks not, when.....after death survive

      Summary: The sylph Ariel summons a dream to the sleeping eyes of Belinda and appears in a vision before her. Putting on the guise of a glitteringly attired beau, he whispers in her ear that she is the particular care of the spirits of the air. Ariel then gives an account of the origin of the various sorts of spirits. All spirits are the souls of women who once lived on earth. The passions and inclinations of women in their earthly lives continue in their airy existence. When a woman dies, her earthly fashionable follies do not die with her. In her airy existence as a spirit, she still takes a keen interest in the passions and pursuits of the fashionable women of the succeeding generations. Just as in a game of cards, while some women play and others who are old and infirm sit by and watch the game with keen interest, the disembodied spirit of a dead woman too, who can no more play her part on earth, takes a deep interest in the follies and frivolities of the living women.

      Critical Analysis: In these lines, Pope is not simply satirizing the follies and frivolities of living women, but seems to be branding the very soul of a woman with the stigma of inalienable vanity. Further Pope cites a few illustrations of the interests of the women, alive or dead.

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