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How far do you agree that Pope admires Belinda?

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Introduction

How far do you agree that Pope admires Belinda? The main character of Pope's "The Rape of the Lock" could be considered both hailed and damned by the overseer, but the complexities and sometimes contradictions of Belinda spark a more unbiased view. The appearance of Belinda and the world in which she lives is described in a very fantastical and beautiful way. Even small details such as the arrangement of Belinda's hair are due to wondrous entities known as the Sylphs, whose sole task is to make sure she is looking her best. This consideration of appearance in "The Rape of the Lock" is very important as the society that Belinda lives within is very judgmental on the basis of appearance, especially for women. Her role is basically to attract a man, preferably wealthy, so that she can be wed and her family receive the pecuniary benefits from the marriage. This beauty within the society, in my opinion, is definitely admired by Pope. He describes Belinda in particular as such a beautiful creature and even though there is a certain air of triviality in the society she lives in, the beauty and frivolity of it is shining. ...read more.

Middle

Her physical gifts though could be argued, in her eyes, to be prettiness and nothing to do with sexuality. Understanding the possibility of her being innocent, there are also undercurrents that she is not so pure as she would have the other people within the poem believe. As an example, after the lock is stolen she tells the Baron that he could have had a more private lock of hair of her own free will. Although all that can be ordained is assumptions, through the language that Pope uses it is pretty safe to assume that the innuendo in her speech is intentional. Not only does this show her lack of innocence but it also shows an awareness and understanding of her sexuality. This is contrary to the illusion that she had built earlier on and combined with her superficiality it could be argued that she is very self-absorbed. The same case can lie where Jews and Infidels kiss the cross on her necklace. If an awareness of herself exists then the questionable motives of the Jews and Infidels for kissing the cross, which so happens to be lying between her breasts, would be apparent to her. ...read more.

Conclusion

When he is outlining the negative aspects of Belinda it is clear that it is his intention to do so, and it is his will to show these aspects. The opposite is also true however. When Pope wishes to show the positive qualities of his protagonist he is keen to do so and sometimes uses the method of direct compliment as aforementioned. This direct binding of what is contained within in the poem and Pope's opinion and will means that arguably whatever is shown within the poem is what Pope thinks of the situation, and what he wishes to show. Due to this I feel that it is impossible to consider Pope only criticising Belinda. Alike many things within life, there is no black or white answer but a shade of grey and although Pope is privy to both the positive and negative sides of Belinda, and also how these may differ with perception, the fact he is aware or both means that he must also admire the positive side. I feel that this is definitely true and that Pope makes it clear even without undercurrents or imagery that he admires Belinda. ...read more.

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