Equality in the Rape of the Lock and Paradise Lost There are a lot of things these two poems can offer. Both the Rape of the lock and paradise lost are epics. They tell tales of characters that once lived and show the human nature. Some would say that the poems don’t offer a sense of equality amongst the characters. Let it be because of sex, intelligence, and society they just don’t seem to have the same value. Sex being a factor because of how the hierarchy was placed in both stories. The men rule the worlds we are presented in.
The higher beings of God, angels, and Satan are always represented as males. And the rulers of the human world are also shown to be male, in this case the Baron and Adam fitting in this category. It just seems that women are just brought to these tales to serve as plot points and to be just there. Intelligence is a given trait that not everyone seems to acquire. The social aspect of the stories in a way feels exclusionary. God can’t be taken out of his throne and thus we have no other option than follow him or pay.
Adam and Eve are certainly not treating each other as equals since Adam expects to be submissive while he does as he pleases. Poe is no less exclusionary in Rape of the lock. The game of Ombre is a crucial plot point on the story that only royalty of that time plays. Those people living bellow social stature would not be able to comprehend the game, and much less play it. Thus not allowing equality to flourish in that society, or among the new readers unable to find out about the game. But doesn’t everyone end up doing what they want regardless of things like sex, intelligence, or social expectations?
Looking it at this way isn’t all of this a way of equality? Isn’t the fact that free will was given to all of this characters make them equals? Gender sure didn’t matter playing Ombre. Bellinda and Clarissa are able to play and consider as competent as any male. Not only they are competent but Bellinda wins the contest. Eve also didn’t let gender stop her. Adam may be giving her instructions but Eve isn’t obeying. She wants to be able to be independent and make her own choices. They might not be the right ones but it does show equality on a bigger scale.
Also they are both made by God and placed both as rulers of earth because they are capable. They are both capable to think and reason. Just because Adam knows more doesn’t mean he’s smarted, just that he’s more educated. We see them both think in the same direction when it comes to God as the one they must obey. We also see them fall by reasoning when it came to the fruit. Even analyzed if she should share the fruit with Adam and by deductive reasoning she choose yes. Adam by deductive reasoning he decided to eat the fruit as the only choice they had.
So in matters of intelligence they were both equal. Also as smart as everyone can be everyone has also the freedom to lack common sense. This is very true in rape of the lock. You see the Baron who is higher in social scale than Belinda and Clarissa acting like an idiot by thinking that cutting hair is a feat worth to make a monument out of. Bellinda doesn’t fall behind by making a big tragedy out of the little lock she lost making the whole problem seem lost in translation. In the end the highest level of intelligence goes to Clarissa.
She knew about the Baron’s love for Bellinda and how attracted she felt back. Knowing this she analyzed the situation so the wouldn’t end up together. She managed the situation even though in class she was just a couple steps below going to the story also social equality. Social equality seems like a weird term for Paradise lost. After all God is represented as a monarch and we live under his guidance. Still, didn’t he make the rest of us as equals? Humans and Angels were made at the image of God and as such in his eyes we are all the same.
Even Satan himself was no different than us. All of this because we were given free will. Because of this the characters are able to act as individuals with the same magnitude. Even if that leads them to their end they are able to make that show by themselves. Equally bad choices are even made later on in rape of the lock. Even if it’s the wrong things all the characters are able to make the choices by free will. The baron cuts Bellinda’s hair and Bellinda takes it upon herself to chase the baron.
Outside of social expectations they both act like kids. So in the end Equality is achieve in a very unorthodox way. Sure at first site it would seem that the stories don’t deal with Equality but they do. Gender is not an impediment to make choices. The characters are able to take responsibilities no matter how good is their reasoning. Social expectations don’t stop their free will to show up. In the end both stories have their characters be equals in all aspects, even if the characters themselves don’t admit that.