Why has the “Rape of Lock” retained its popularity to this day?
The remarkable work of Alexander Pope has retained popularity to this day because of the wonderful talent of Alexander Pope. Not a single line in the poem is considered boring as the writer has grip in translating humour in words. Before discussion the popularity of “Rape of Lock” till date, let’s first spread light on the introduction of the poem.
“Rape of the Lock” was firstly a poem, written on the request of John Caryll, a friend to Alexander Pope, on the fight between John Caryll and Arabella Fermor. Both these characters are presented in the poem as Lord Baron and Belinda, respectively. The poem, initially, was based on two cantos but subsequently, it was enhanced and, with the reformation as well as revision, the writer converted it a long narrative poem, consisting five cantos. The poem was written for the purpose of making a harsh fight into cheerful story.All in all, the work of poet can be considered as the best work and will be remembered in future as well.
The purpose of making the poem a long narrative story was to satirize the society, in which the poet was living. Although, change is law of nature yet undoubtedly, the society, in which we are living, is not different from the Pope’s society, as the same has not been changed to such an extent that it can expire the work of Alexander Pope. The lords and ladies of that era has nothing to do with anything except flirtation. Their lifestyle was different from the lower class. Their purpose was to spend a life with enjoyment. Pope had conferred, in form of Belinda’s character that she was making up and going on a ball like a warrior prepares and went to fight in the field of war.Apart from the ladies, lords had also nothing to do with their work. They did not compete each other in fight but in flirtation and winning a lady’s company for dance. After forgetting their duties, they went on a party and lost their minds in front of a beautiful ladylike Belinda.If that society was morally and socially corrupt then today’s society is also not different from that. Nowadays, either someone is from upper class or middle class, he thinks, he has right to flirt. Again, competition is not for work but for increasing the number of girlfriends in their list. From social media to real life, purpose of young men is same. “Rape of Lock” was written hundreds year ago but it is as fresh today as it was in that era because human nature has not been changed so far. It is also a reason that “Rape of the Lock” retained its popularity to these days.
On one side, theme of the poem is best and keeps the work of Pope fresh. On the other side, the poem is best because it is a mock epic poem. Neither prior to Pope, anyone has tried to write a mock epic poem nor, after him, someone has ability to do the same. It is relevant to mention here, Pope boasted that about three thousand copies were sold in first four days. If we, today, being student of the literature, are discussing this poem, then the reason behind is that no one has yet competed Alexander Pope in writing a mock epic poem. Alexander Pope read the Greece story of Troy in form and elide and Milton’s “Paradise lost” and from the combination of these poems, he has translated humour in words. If one wants to compete Alexander Pope, he should first boost his humour and knowledge. Thus, it is the only mock epic poem, which is best in English Literature and Alexander Pope has not been competed yet by anyone. As there is no competition in writing a mock epic in English Literature with the standard of Alexander Pope, therefore, it is another reason that “Rape of Lock” has retained its popularity to this day.
Another key aspect, which keeps this poem fresh today, is the writing style of Alexander Pope. He has used metaphors, which are clearly understandable. There is no ambiguity in them. Neither they are far fetched nor has the poet shown its competency with their usage. Moreover, his similes and metaphors are exaggerated in the sense that they create humour. Pope’s diction level is awesome and he writes while keeping in mind the wording level of a layman. It is also another reason to justify that “Rape of Lock” has retained its popularity to this day.
Long and the short of above discussion is that Alexander Pope may not be considered a jack of all traders but he is master in writing a mock epic. He has not been surpassed by anyone in his poetic-humour in form of epic poem. He has made his mind to keep his poem fresh, even in future; therefore, he struggled and made headway to keep his poem alive.A lot of critics have pick holes in “Rape of Lock” but the same are unreasonable, therefore, it is not justified to criticize the great work of Alexander Pope just for the purpose of criticism. Pope’s satire, his intellectual mind, his humour, his impression, his lively exaggeration and above all his presentation of humour are the reasons that this poem has retained its popularity to this day.