The Rape of The Lock: Lines 563-578 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 563-578. O wretched maid.....a whisper lost.

      Summary: Through the agency of the Furies let loose by Umbriel, Belinda is filled with superhuman wrath at the rape of her lock and, Thalestris in these words adds fuel to the flame. 'O unhappy maid': She cries and the words are echoed by Hampton Court "was it for this end that you took such pains to prepare your bodkin, comb and perfumes? Was it for this that you tied up your locks in a contrivance of paper and circled it round with painful iron pins? Was it for this that you pressed your gentle head with a headband and without grumbling endured the double load of lead— the fasteners to the curl-papers, and the lead curls for darkening the hair?"

      Thalestris cries in horror: "God! Is your hair to be exhibited now by the ravisher Baron as his prize amid the confounded looks of ladies and the envious looks of men? It appears to me that I already visualize the tears shed by you at this calamity and hear the terrible remarks that people will make about it; I already imagine how scurrilous whispers will destroy your reputation; how you will fall from your place of a celebrated beauty, and your health will no longer be drunk to."

      Critical Analysis: In these lines, Pope once again is having fun at the expense of the aristocratic ladies of his time. He points out how these ladies took great pain in beautifying themselves, especially their hair. All that these women seem to care about is their reputation as a great beauty. For this they are even ready to lose their chastity. Pope implies that a woman would not mind surrendering her virtue to a man if the fact was kept a secret.

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