Hero Poem Essay

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Pope’s The Rape of the Lock is a noted example of the Mock-Heroic style; indeed, Pope never deviates from mimicking epic poetry such as Homer's Iliad and Virgil's Aeneid .

The overall form of the poem, written in cantos, follows the tradition of epics, along with the precursory “Invocation of the Muse”; in this case, Pope's Muse is literally the person who prodded him to write the poem, John Caryll: “this verse to Caryll, Muse, is due! Epics always include foreshadowing which is usually given by an otherworldly figure, and Pope mocks tradition through Ariel the sprite, who sees some “dread event” (line 109) impending on Belinda.

The Hudibrastic is poetry in closed rhyming couplets in iambic tetrameter, where the rhymes are often feminine rhymes or unexpected conjunctions.

For example, Butler describes the English Civil War as a time which "Made men fight like mad or drunk/ For dame religion as for punk/ Whose honesty all durst swear for/ Tho' not one knew why or wherefore" ("punk" meaning a prostitute).

The earliest example of the form is the Batrachomyomachia ascribed to Homer by the Romans and parodying his work, but believed by most modern scholars to be the work of an anonymous poet in the time of Alexander the Great. In the 17th century the epic genre was heavily criticized, because it was felt expressing the traditional values of the feudal society.

Among the new genres, closer to the modern feelings and proposing new ideals, the satirical literature was particularly effective in criticizing the old habits and values.

The strained and unexpected rhymes increase the comic effect and heighten the parody.

This formal indication of satire proved to separate one form of mock-heroic from the others.

Pope’s mastery of the Mock-Heroic is clear in every instance.

Even the typical apotheosis found in the epics is mimicked in The Rape of the Lock, as “the stars inscribe Belinda’s name! He invokes the same Mock-heroic style in The Dunciad which also employs the language of heroic poetry to describe menial or trivial subjects.


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