The Canterbury Tales

The Rape of the Lock as a mock epic?

proove the satire in the rape of the lock

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The opening of The Rape of the Lock establishes the poem’s mock-heroic tone. In the tradition of epic poetry, Pope opens the poem by invoking a muse, but rather than invoke one of the mythic Greek muses, Pope leaves the muse anonymous and instead dedicates the poem to John Caryll, the man who commissioned the poem. The first verse-paragraph also introduces Pope’s epic subject matter: a war arising from “amorous causes” (1). Unlike Menelaus’ fury at Paris’ theft of Helen or Achilles’ quarrel with Agamemnon over Briseis in The Iliad, however, the poem’s “mighty contests rise from trivial things” (2). Indeed, these “mighty contests” are merely flirtations and card games rather than the great battles of the Greek epic tradition.