Rape of the Lock & Absalom and Achitophel

 
 
 
 
Rape of the Lock & Absalom and Achitophel

Both Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock and John Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel are mock epics. Exactly what makes them a mock epic as opposed to epic is the very fact that they satirize the elements of epic poetry like Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. A typical epic consisted of a very long narrative poem that offered some grand adventure or tale on a heroic scale. The different episodes of the narrative embody the themes or foundations of a culture or nation. There are many elements in epic works, including but not limited to: the invocation of a deity, divine intervention, interference of the gods, major battles, journeys to the underworld, dreams, grandiose speeches, and so forth. The mock epic, in contrast, is a literary form that satirizes or burlesques the Classical epic. It does so precisely by bringing forth these elements from above BUT concerning a trivial subject like the cutting off of a lock of hair!

Both The Rape of the Lock and Absalom and Achitophel are mock epics and share similarities when it comes to the elements characteristic of Classical epics which they mock. Pope's The Rape of the Lock uses heroic couplets, highly polished verse, and satire in order to deflate its subject and characters by using epic form to demonstrate them. The Rape of the Lock concerns the antics and fuss that ensue when a lazy young lord cuts a small lack of hair from the head of a young beauty. By using elements

     
 
 
 
    

 

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