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For what purposes does Pope include the machinery and say how far you think they influence character and events. Pope's protagonist is protected and guided by tiny fragile sylphs, who are portrayed throughout the poem

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For what purposes does Pope include the machinery and say how far you think they influence character and events. Pope's protagonist is protected and guided by tiny fragile sylphs, who are portrayed throughout the poem as powerless creatures. Instantly we recognise the poem as a mock epic by the use of such delicate machinery who are supposed to take the role of the gods presented in epic texts, protecting and guiding the hero or in this case the heroine. The sylphs' incapacity to seize or gain power demonstrates their inability to protect Belinda's honour; nevertheless, we notice the importance of the sylphs as they demonstrate a major role in Belinda's life. It is also significant that Pope did not include the sylphs in his original text of rape of the lock, but in fact the sylphs were only introduced in his second making of his poem; evidently, Pope acknowledge the need to employ his machinery, perhaps as a dramatic device, however, there may be a great deal more to their existence than simply to create interest and entertainment for the reader. It is through the sylphs that Pope is able to communicate his message to the reader, illustrating the absurdities of Belinda's world; the sylphs are almost a tool which enables him ...read more.


This is evident as the sylphs' beauty reinforce Belinda's beauty, their 'insect wings unfold, waft on the breeze or sink in clouds of gold', although these are not characteristics possessed by Belinda, their beauty still reflects on her. In addition, we witness in canto 1 the sylphs preparing their heroine by glorifying her and making her appeal more beautiful at her 'altar' as a 'heavenly image in the glass appears, to that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;' here it is the skills of the sylphs which enable her transformation from an ordinary coquette to an almost goddess-like being, full of strength and magnificence. Nonetheless, this could be viewed as a way to glorify her prior to her deflation when she is exposed to the rape of her lock, creating a greater dramatic effect. However, the sylphs are in many ways different to humans, Pope ensures this is apparent to the reader as he portrays that the sylphs can be repaired or healed: 'fate urg'd the sheers, and cut the sylph in twain' but the sylph 'soon unites again', however Belinda's honour and chastity once lost cannot be regained and she becomes soiled and stained for life. ...read more.


The sylphs in many ways manipulate both Belinda and events presented in the poem, not only do they act as her guiders although they are weak but they also glorify Belinda transforming her almost into a goddess where those around her admire and worship her beauty. Our enlightenment 'oft she rejects, but never once offends' reinforces our perception of the sylphs, but also indicates that she will be deflated and even demised. As the epic progresses the sylphs seem to get smaller, first Ariel hovers above Belinda's head, however, 50 sylphs are required to guard her petticoat and a thousand to defend the lock. This symbolism indicates their lack of power but also possibly questions the degree to which Belinda desires to remain chaste. Once Ariel enters her mind and establishes an 'earthly lover lurking at her heart', we begin to assume that perhaps the sylphs, although in large quantities, were unable to sustain her. The similarities between the sylphs and Belinda's world, asserts their comparable nature in relation to one another, this is evident from the luxurious descriptions as they sink in 'clouds of gold' in addition to their 'glittering' nature and the 'gilded-mast' which reflect on the solid jewel boxes, 'coaches', coffee pots presented in Belinda's life. The supernatural world and the reality both emphasise the machineries materialistic concerns which is exists in Belinda's society. ...read more.

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