The Rape of The Lock: Lines 549-554 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 549-554. A wondrous bag.....mounts to day.

      Summary: This is how Spleen, though ostensibly dissatisfied, grants Umbriel's prayer, and hands over to him instruments wherewith to accomplish his designs. The gloomy queen ties up a strange bag resembling the one in which Ulysses had all the advance winds enclosed. Into this bag she gathers all the powers of sighing, sobbing, scolding, or bursting into anger, of which women's breath is capable. Thereafter, she fills a phial with fears of fainting, mild sorrows, moving griefs, and profuse tears. The spirit carries away these gifts and delight stretches out his wings, and slowly goes up into the lighted sky.

      Critical Analysis: Pope's wit here is very sharp and pointed. The gifts which the goddess of Spleen gives to the gnome are all indicative of the female weaknesses. The bag which the goddess Spleen gives to the gnome is a clever mimicking of the bag in which Ulysses had all the advanced winds entrapped. This bag contains all the violent and noisy emotions while the phial contains the more quiet sort of suffering. Thus, Pope seems to imply that women are capable of all sorts of antics to demonstrate their sufferings.

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