The Rape of The Lock: Lines 515-522 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 515-522. Unnumbered throngs.....aloud for corks.

      Summary: The Cave of Spleen is surrounded by numberless crowds of persons transformed by Spleen into a various shapes. Here stands one in the likeness of a tea pot with a bent arm resembling the handle and an out-stretched arm in place of the spout; then there is an imitation of a small earthen pot or pan, walking in the manner of Vulcan's tripods spoken of by Homer; there is another like a jar or a goose pie, sighing or talking; and as the brain becomes heated, men appear to be pregnant like women, and Women feel like bottle and clamor for corks to stop them.

      Critical Analysis: These lines form part of the description of the Cave of Spleen and contain examples of the strange metamorphosis of men suffering from Spleen. In subtle strokes, Pope points the illusions from which morbidly melancholic people suffer. Such people are often plagued with fantastic visions and often imagine themselves transformed into various objects. Though the description is highly amusing it has pornographic overtones. "Maids turned bottle, call aloud for corks" has a clear sexual meaning.

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