Pope the Poet

This satirical print against Pope displays the backlash and hatred Pope received after publishing The Dunciad (1729). The image is a highly creative, but also disturbing reflection of what happens when one speaks against and parodies common rule/ popular following. In this image, Pope is depicted as a rat-like mutation hunched over as a result of the production variorumof his literature. While this image might be seen as cruel, I feel as though in a distinct way, Pope would have appreciated the creativity and extent to which this piece of literature (the image) was made.

In The Dunciad, Pope created a work which mocks the writers, critics, and readers whom he felt were simply dull, tasteless, irrelevant and corrupt. The goal of his piece was to shine light on the need for more powerful, meaningful literature. The poem is a shot at all those whom contribute to the production and release of such type of literature, forcing them to realize how ridiculousness their work truly is.

In The Dunciad, Pope writes:

“Whate’er the talents, or howe’er design’d,
We hang one jingling padlock on the mind:
A Poet the first day, he dips his quill;
And what the last? a very Poet still.
Pity! the charm works only in our wall, [165]”

Here Pope makes bold assertion that no matter what the talents of a person are, they will always be a poet and that in and of itself is of extreme importance. Therefore no words against him shall prosper but only be reflected under light at the end of the day.


-Angelica Costilla-Mancha

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