Themes and Important Topics: Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope

Immoral and Carefree Manner of Upper Classes:

Pope has presented the careless and casual response of aristocracy in matters of life; he presents a society where high ups are busy in pursuit of their own goals though trivial and vain. The society on display in this poem is one that fails to distinguish between things that matter and things that do not. What they care about is their own personal life, card games, pomp, vanity and a life that is matchless to the ordinary and the common. He makes fun of their stupid deeds. He considers it serious that a woman's hair is cut but by the nobility because she has rejected a lord and such crimes are frivolities and funs of life! There is a war! Alexander Pope exposes moral values prevalent in nobility by use of irony:

"In tasks so bold, can little men engage?
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?"

Frivolties and Stupidity of Female Sex:

Pope has made fun of women and their unthinking minds which are concerned for their beauty aids alone. He presents Belinda like an epic heroin. The stakes in this mock-heroic epic are Belinda's maidenhood. Pope does not invoke a heavenly muse like Milton rather Ariel reads of bad omens: "Beware of all, but most beware of Man!" Belinda's performance of her toilette, assisted by Betty, her "inferior priestess", is described as the arming of the epic hero: "Now awful Beauty put on all its arms" and then poet describes the various creams and perfumes on Belinda's vanity invests them with a value and exoticism they don't deserve: "Unnumbered treasures," "glittering spoil," "India's glowing gems," and "all Arabia breathes from yonder box". The "Fairest of Mortals" has "unnumbered Spirits round" flying as guards:

"To Fifty chosen Sylphs, of special Note,
We trust th' important Charge, the Petticoat."


Love is no more than trifle for the characters in this poem. For the poet, upper class believes only in victory and defeat and love has no value in their unthinking minds. Belinda meets all with a smile but yields to none. The Baron would love to have an affair but without feelings, it would be considered a victory.


No beauty can be without pride and our dear Belinda is the best of all. She takes due care not to let anyone go without looking at her with a full look. This is for one such vanities of Belinda that the baron decides to take revenge for by stripping her beloved lock of hair.