The Rape of The Lock: Lines 47-50 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 47-50 As now your.....those of air

      Summary: In these lines this is what the sylph Ariel whispers into the ears of the drowsy belle Belinda in the first canto of Pope's mock-heroic epic The Rape of the Lock: "Then learn from me that numberless spirits hover round you forming an army of aerial beings inhabiting the lower regions of the sky. Though invisible they are always flying in the sky watching the box at the opera and the drivers in the Hyde Park. Now think upon what a number of airy beings surround you and guard you from all harm. Therefore regard the sedan chair—the fashionable conveyance for ladies—with scorn i.e. to be guarded by an army of spirits is more honorable for a lady than to be carried by two pages in a sedan chair."

      Critical Analysis: It is in the conception of the origin and character of the four sorts of spirits, that the felicity of Pope's genius lies. He modifies the supernatural theory of the Rosicrucians to suit his purpose of 'delicate filigree work' so aptly that the addition is a great improvement on the first version of the poem. He is indeed indebted to the Platonists for the idea of the continuity of the character of souls in another existence and perhaps to Dryden's lines. Yet, the details are his own, and the exquisite satire on women that is woven into it has a delicate flavour of its own.

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