Pope's Poems and Prose

examine the rape of the lock as a mock-epic

analysis of the poem as amock epic

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At the beginning of "The Rape of the Lock," Pope identifies the work as a “heroi-comical poem.” Today, the poem–and others like it–is referred to as a mock-epic and sometimes as a mock-heroic. Such a work parodies the serious, elevated style of the classical epic poem–such as The Iliad or The Odyssey, by Homer–to poke fun at human follies. Thus, a mock-epic is a type of satire; it treats petty humans or insignificant occurrences as if they were extraordinary or heroic, like the great heroes and events of Homer's two great epics. In writing "The Rape of the Lock," Pope imitated the characteristics of Homer's epics, as well as later epics such as The Aeneid (Vergil), The Divine Comedy (Dante), and Paradise Lost (Milton). Many of these characteristics are listed below, under "Epic Conventions."

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