The Rape of The Lock: Lines 759-766 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 759-766. There heroes.....tomes of casuistry

      Summary: In these lines, Pope gives us a formidable list of things which are "lost on the earth" and mount up to the moon. Many of these are sacred to others. It seems nothing is safe from Pope's sneers. In his reference to the work of scientists, he betrays a narrowness of view, but he reminds us of a very similar attitude of greater poets like, Wordsworth and Keats. The latter abused the scientists as men " who would anatomise on their mother's graves."

      Here Pope gives a picture of the sphere, carrying the moon, to which it was supposed Belinda's lock had shot up. This was because the moon was long believed to be the place where everything lost on earth, 'the earth's rubbish' was stored. There the wits of heroes are kept in big jars. Pledges not kept and gifts made only at the time of death, too late to be accepted by heaven, are found there. Other things to be seen there are the hearts of lovers tied with the ends of ribbons, the unreliable promise of countries, the prayers of ailing men, not born of true devotion, the false smiles of prostitutes, the deceptive tears shed by heirs succeeding to the property of the deceased, cages for gnats, chains for holding fleas, specimens of butterflies preserved by drying, and the works of the schoolmen, dealing with abstruse and unintelligible cases of the conscience.

      Critical Analysis: The poet here explains in a humorous vein the mysterious disappearance of Belinda's lock of hair. The parallel between Belinda's hair and Rome's celebrated founder as well as the ravished hair and the dedicated hair demonstrate to us the mock-heroic nature of Pope's poem. Pope has modernized Aristotle's suggestion, that the last resting place of lost treasures is the moon and the catalog of things given by him makes it clear that he is satirizing hypocritical, foolish, frivolous, and worthless activities and attitudes.

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