Over the centuries poets have used satire to comment on their times. Satire is a literary genre in which human or individual vices and follies are held up by means of ridicule and irony. The four poems which are going to be examined are The Rape of The Lock, Speak parrot, The Lady’s Dressing Room and The Ruler of the queens navee. The First Poem to be examined is The Rape of the Lock, a poem written by Alexander Pope. Alexander Pope was born in London in 1688. The Rape of the lock is a humorous reflection of the vanities and idleness of 18th century high society.
Alexander Pope intended his verses to encourage many to laugh at their own folly. The epic had long been considered one of the most literary forms. The strategy of Popes mock-epic is to mock his society in its failure to rise to high standards, exposing its pettiness by showing the bravery and fortitude of epic heroes. Popes mock-heroic methods in The Rape of the Lock emphasize the ridiculousness and absurdity of a society in which values have lost all proportion and the unimportant issues is handles with the seriousness that ought to be accorded to truly important issues.
The society on display in this poem is one that fails to distinguish between things that matter and things that do not. The Peer now spreads the glittering Forfex wide, T’ inclose the Lock; now joins it, to divide. Ev’n then, before the fatal Engine clos’d, A wretched Sylph too fondly interpos’d; Fate urged the Sheers, and cut the Sylph in twain, (But Airy Substance soon unites again) The meeting Points the sacred Hair dissever From the fair Head, for ever and for ever! Using epic battle imagery to describe a small pair of scissors satirizes the ridiculous nature of the whole situation
The Rape of the Lock is written in iambic pentameter: each line has five feet and each foot has two syllables, with the second bearing the stress. This gives ten syllables per line. The second poem which will be examined is the Lady’s Dressing Room written by Jonathon swift. The Poem is a painfully repugnant list by Strephon, a male suitor, of the carnage left in the efforts of Celia, a well to-do woman, to make herself presentable for society. Celia is a name from classical pastoral poetry. This is ironic as she is trying to make herself seem beautiful when she has such a beautiful name.
The remainder of the poem relates to Strephon’s subsequent dissatisfaction with women and the narrator id chastising him for this. Strephon’s survey of Celia’s recently-used, yet-to-be-cleaned dressing room portrays the Lady as a completely filthy being. Through clever wit, satire and sarcasm, Swift points out the problems with unrealistic expectations in his poem. “Paste of Composition rare,” “Ointments good for scabby Chops,” Within the poem, Swift’s satirical target is Celia who serves for a metaphor for women, their vanity, and their charm and beauty which is ultimately a total fai??
ade. In this case, given the grotesque misrepresentation of every woman Celia, Swift is clearly a hater if women. “Five Hours, (and who can do it less in? By Haughty Celia spent in Dressing: The Goddess From her chamber issues Array’d in Lace, Brocades and Tissues” This is a very sarcastic verse. “Five Hours, (and who can do it less in? “. This is meant to be rhetorical. It is as if he is waiting for a reply, yet knows he will not get one. The rhyme is humorous and sounds like a nursery rhyme, a children’s poem.
The term Goddess sounds very nice but this is ironic as he is satirizing Celia. He does not agree with this and cleverly satirizes her but in a subtle manner. “On such a Point few words are best ” This sentence is full of heavy irony which underlines satire. Irony is a form of speech in which the real meaning is concealed or contradicted by the words used. This is very useful as it engages the reader to the wit and sarcasm. “Here Allum Flower to stop the streams” This is a form of alliteration. Alliteration us a frequent tool in poetry and in this poem its acts to humorous effect.