The Rape of The Lock: Lines 377-390 - Summary & Analysis

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Lines: 377-390. The Knave of Diamonds.....canals reply

      Summary: Describing the game of Ombre in the mock-heroic style, Pope here refers to the nervousness that seizes Belinda when her own troops are worsted through a series of successive onslaughts from the Baron. The Knave of Diamonds having won the Queen of Hearts, Belinda is terribly disconcerted. The blood seems to leave the virgin's face and a dull pallor comes over all her features. She sees that she is on the point of ruin and that her opponent is going to win the Codille. She trembles at this impending calamity.

      Having referred to the nervousness that seized Belinda when she felt she was in the jaws of ruin, the poet here tells us how luck favored her at this moment. As often happens at some critical political juncture, the general fate now depends on one clever trick. An Ace of Hearts now comes forward; the King of Hearts who has been lying quietly in her hand, mourning the loss of his queen, now leaps forth zealously to take revenge and comes down like thunder on the Ace who lies low. Belinda sends forth shouts of great rejoicing which fill the heavens and are echoed by the walls, the woods, and the long canal of Hampton Court.

      Critical Analysis: The game has ended; the battle has been won or lost but Pope has succeeded in revealing the fickleness of human nature. Even in the game of cards, human beings tend to be disheartened at the prospect of defeat and exulted at the advent of victory beyond all norms of decency.

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