Surprisingly, People Still Believe that their 2 cent Speech is Needed

Perhaps I am being to cynical and critical of religion, but from what literature has come to teach is just how influential it can be, but also how it is contradictory and mocked. There is no need to delve into what satire is by this point as we all have come to form our own definitions of it. So, in looking at the second image, it comes to no shock that religion must be mocked. In his poem, Alexander Pope does not try to be coy about who he is trying to make a statement about. He is straightforward and while the image is meant to mock Pope himself, it comes off more as fuel to the fire, a greater need for people to read his work in order to understand that the image is merely promoting his work. In the image there are two distinct animals presented, the rat and the donkey and the statement is quite clear that pope is disgusting and an ass[hole]. Why put this forward unless its creator was deeply offended for Pope using satire to point out the truth and flaws of both religion, society but also what is a legitimate work of literature.


The gath’ring number, as it moves along,

Involves a vast involuntary throng,

Who gently drawn, and struggling less and less,

Roll in her Vortex, and her pow’r confess.

Not those alone who passive own her laws,

But who, weak rebels, more advance her cause.

Whate’er of dunce in College or in Town

Sneers at another, in toupee or gown;

Whate’er of mungril no one class admits,

A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.


In the above passage, it is very obvious that no one is immune to stupidity. The last line specifically calls out anyone of both extremes of the intelligence spectrum to indicate how at the end of the day we are all at the base, human. No matter the change of scenery or schooling, everyone is the same in the sense that we are all human and not a rat or a donkey. In that phrase alone, Pope is denouncing all his critics because the way that it comes across is that at the end of the day people are going to be reading his works more often than they will be seeing an image that someone who had gotten offended and had to retaliate some way (which unlike today would be calling someone out on Twitter, they choose to spend time drawing that). Pope knew his work would thus be remembered for the nature of it being blunt and calling out people to realize their privilege and not be so self centered that their works may not be the next big thing. In doing so, he is trying to give them a reality check that not everyone can write the greatest poem, epic, play, Bible, etc. and to in a sense be open to criticism. So, people can rant all they want but in order to be an author and not someone who just writes stuff, they have to have a backbone and understand that criticism is not a personal attack but a tool to help make a work better. And if they choose to believe that it is the greatest thing on earth, then they are merely a dunce with wits.


Today’s post was brought to you by Xotchitl Garibay and the letter “S” for satire and the number “2” for the 2 cent speech that is not always needed.

Hating Satire, Only To End Up Using It

Pope visual satire 2.jpg

Following Lecture Notes which heavily cleared up confusions in my head about Alexander Pope’s “The Dunciad”, we know that this specific picture that I chose to focus on, was used for some serious bullying of Pope. There was some literal bullying that went on in this image in terms of Pope’s actual physical condition. In his biography, we find that he was left “humpbacked and deformed” because of Tuberculosis (2600). In this image specifically, this rat/monkey figure of Pope has a particular huge bump on his back and he is leaning on something. Pope’s figure of a monkey mix also is being made fun of because of his reference in lines 18-19 of “The Dunciad, “In broad Effulgence all below reveal’d/(‘Tis thus aspiring Dulness ever shines).” He is referencing a monkey who when continuing to climb, exposes their bottom more and more. To make him a mix of monkey is to use his own example to describe him as making an ass of himself.  Playing again on his Tuberculosis, we also know that Pope couldn’t actually hold himself up due to his condition. And in his poem, he mentions that the satire style he is most criticized for is what’s actually making this all entertaining. He’s saying had it not been for my satire: “Had not her sister Satire held her head:” (42), then Thalia, the “Muse of Comedy” would be dead (41). But again, this is ironic because in this image, those that are criticizing him also have Pope’s figure holding his head.

However, this bullying was also rooted in the discrimination of Pope, who was: a Roman Catholic who could not, “vote or purchase land, attend public school/university, live within ten miles of London, hold public office, or openly practice his religion” (2599). He was treated significantly less than those around him and was seriously oppressed by those around him. This image was definitely a message to Pope to not just “Know thyself,” but also to remind him to know his place and realize that he is still the lowest of the poets, in the eyes of those who criticize him. 


-Ruth Serrano

What Comes Around Goes Around

“Beneath her foot-stool, Science groans in Chains,
And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains.
There foam’d rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound,
There, stript, fair Rhet’ric languish’d on the ground;
His blunted Arms by Sophistryare born, 
And shameless Billingsgate her Robes adorn.
Morality, by her false Guardians drawn,
Chicane in Furs, and Casuistry in Lawn,
Gasps, as they straiten at each end the cord,
And dies, when Dulness gives her Page the word.”

A response to Image 2

Alexander Pope was heavily criticized by many writers of his time-period, the Enlightenment. In Image 2, he is represented as a mutation between a rat and a monkey with his recently published work at the time, The Dunciad. These verses represent the image because Pope claimed that being dull was praised and thus, people, mainly authors and artists, were offended by Pope’s accusation which resulted in the photo.
            Although the mocking images of Pope are inappropriate and unprofessional, one must not forget that The Dunciad is filled with slander of other authors. After Pope anonymously published the book in response to Theobald’s criticism of his Shakespeare edition, a childish back and forth slander between Pope and his criticizers began. While it may be easy to side with Pope because he was not afraid to criticize other writers of lacking skill, therefore ruining literature, he abuses his authorship.
            Not every piece of literature, whether it be in the form of books, essays, articles, magazines, blog posts, etc. we read is going to be enjoyable for us. However, that does not mean it is unacceptable and cannot be published. Why? Because of free speech. There are quite a few books and especially posts (i.e. Facebook or Twitter) that advocate immoral values, such as racism, but every person is entitled to their own opinion and can express it in their own way.
There was nothing wrong in Theobald criticizing Pope. Pope took it too personally and began the back and forth name-calling and degrading between him and the writers of his time. In fact, he should not have been surprised that these pictures of him were created in order to ridicule him.

By Charise Cating

“Ha, Ha, Mr. Pope!”

This image depicts Alexander Pope, Colley Cibber (the character from The Dunciad: Book 4), Edward Rich, and a woman who seems to portray a prostitute from that time period. The Dunciad was originally written to satirize Pope’s enemies, people that he had believed were too ignorant to understand his work. However, his enemies were not as dumb as he believed, and they retaliate with this image;

Pope visual satire

This image shows Cibber trying to pull Pope from the harlot on the bed, and peering through the wall is Rich. Cibber is desperate to get Pope away from the woman so that he may “save” him from sin, with Pope portrayed as a very small man, due to his physical disability during the time he was alive.

One of the quotes that had caught my attention and had pushed me to focus on image #1 was as follows;

“When lo! a Harlot form soft sliding by, 20  [45]

With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye;

Foreign her air, her robe’s discordant pride

In patch-work flutt’ring, and her head aside:

By singing Peers 21  up-held on either hand,

She tripp’d and laugh’d, too pretty much to stand; [50]

Cast on the prostrate Nine 22  a scornful look,

Then thus in quaint Recitativo 23 spoke.”

(Pope 45-52)

This quote focuses solely on the harlot, and makes her appear strong and more powerful than any man around her. Usually, prostitutes are seen as dirty, sinful, and diseased; however, with this scene, the harlot becomes a woman of pride and strength, unable to be stopped or controlled by any mere man. Having Pope on top of the woman shows that he is unafraid to step towards something seen as wrong in order to put his thoughts out there, with Rich standing as a watchman so that he may stand away from putting his opinions forward over the subject.

– Jody Omlin

“A Dunce and his Cap” or “How to make fun of a Man and his Religion and His Readers at the same time”

By: Chris Ingle

Picture 2

pope-visual-satire-2.jpgI grew up watching old cartoons where you would be in a classroom and you had a child sitting in a corner, on a stool or standing, and he or she would be wearing a “dunce cap” or stupid hat as my sister used to call it. I never understood the idea. I knew what it stood for.


After looking at the Pope Image given to us and reading Pope’s work I came across this passage in The Duncaid:

And now had Fame’s posterior Trumpet blown,
And all the Nations summon’d to the Throne.
The young, the old, who feel her inward sway,
One instinct seizes, and transports away.
None need a guide, by sure Attraction led,
And strong impulsive gravity of Head:
None want a place, for all their Centre found,
Hung to the Goddess, and coher’d around.
Not closer, orb in orb, conglob’d are seen
The buzzing Bees about their dusky Queen.

The gath’ring number, as it moves along,
Involves a vast involuntary throng,
Who gently drawn, and struggling less and less,
Roll in her Vortex, and her pow’r confess.
Not those alone who passive own her laws,
But who, weak rebels, more advance her cause.
Whate’er of dunce in College or in Town
Sneers at another, in toupee or gown;
Whate’er of mungril no one class admits,
A wit with dunces, and a dunce with wits.

Nor absent they, no members of her state,
Who pay her homage in her sons, the Great;
Who false to Ph bus, bow the knee to Baal;
Or impious, preach his Word without a call.
Patrons, who sneak from living worth to dead,
With-hold the pension, and set up the head;
Or vest dull Flatt’ry in the sacred Gown;
Or give from fool to fool the Laurel crown.
And (last and worst) with all the cant of wit,
Without the soul, the Muse’s Hypocrit.

There march’d the bard and blockhead, side by side,
Who rhym’d for hire, and patroniz’d for pride.
Narcissus, prais’d with all a Parson’s pow’r,
Look’d a white lilly sunk beneath a show’r.
There mov’d Montalto with superior air;
His stretch’d-out arm display’d a Volume fair;
Courtiers and Patriots in two ranks divide,
Thro’ both he pass’d, and bow’d from side to side:
But as in graceful act, with awful eye
Compos’d he stood, bold Benson thrust him by:
On two unequal crutches propt he came,
Milton’s on this, on that one Johnston’s name.
The decent Knight retir’d with sober rage,
“What! no respect, he cry’d, for Shakespear’s page?”
But (happy for him as the times went then)
Appear’d Apollo’s May’r and Aldermen,
On whom three hundred gold-capt youths await,
To lug the pond’rous volume off in state.

Pope is describing to us the different types of Dunce’s. I have always found the the defining feature of a dunce is their famous cap. Usually a cone on the head with a “D” or the word Dunce printed on it. I am not sure if Pope created the term “Dunce”, but it sure seemed to me that this poem popularized the term. When I look at the image given to me, I cannot help but see the papal crown on the top or rat-Pope’s head. It may not be a cone as is usually depicted, but I started to wonder if this attempt at Mockery of mockery was to be Pope’s personal Dunce cap, maybe even calling him the king of the Dunce’s. The pedestal he sits on calls him “The Holiness and His Prime Minister” at least he is called his holiness (obviously there is a donkey near him that is supposed to be the prime minister). Pope himself makes mention to 300 gold capped youths”. To me, I visualized 300 children, all in dunce caps of gold, running off and spreading their dunce-ness. Similar to how a rat can multiply very quickly. This immediately relates back to the image of him as a rat in his gold dunce crown. From his bullies’ perspectives, he is a dunced rat, spreading lies and slander all around England. To a further extent, anyone reading his work, or carrying it around (as donkeys would do) is an ass themselves.

On a deeper level, there is the ridicule of Catholics. Pope-rat is wearing a Papal crown, thus calling him, and by extension all Catholics, rat-people. They are calling out anyone who is a Catholic . Let’s combine these two ideas together. Could the creator of this picture be calling Pope and all Catholics dunces and are no better than rats, and anyone who listens to it are asses? Could he be saying that all Catholics are stupid and are spreading lies? I think these interpretations are certainly possible. It is clear that Pope is being bullied, but I feel that whoever made this drawing couldn’t take a joke, or even consider looking at themselves. Maybe this person didn’t like being called a Dunce. Pope’s work doesn’t call everyone a Dunce. The person who drew this may have clearly saw something in Pope’s work that unsettled him. Maybe he is a person who is not a dunce, but is giving to causes that seem dull to Pope. Maybe this person is in denial about being a Dunce. Either way, Pope’s work here really put some perspective on this picture. He stepped on a nerve. He rattled a cage. He shook a tree. Personally, and seriously, making fun of anyone due to beliefs is uncalled for. The person who made this art (though I disagree with its subject and content, it is still art) is a shallow person who is hitting a few low blows. Pope calling out Dunces as dull people was an attempt to wake people up and get them to realize their follies. It wasn’t an attack on their faith, or even them personally. It was a call to change England to eradicate dullness. Well in this piece, things are definitely not dull.

Patch-Work Pope

Analyzing the description of Opera in The Dunciad provides a valuable perspective, that is constructive to the interpretation of Alexander Pope’s bullies.

When lo! a Harlot form soft sliding by,

With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye;

Foreign her air, her robe’s discordant pride

In patch-work flutt’ring, and her head aside:

Opera is introduced as a “Harlot form soft sliding by.” A Harlot refers to a prostitute. She is described as a form, a silhouette, illustrating her enigmatic nature. Furthermore, the alliteration of ‘s’ present in “soft sliding” suggests danger because of its connotations to hissing. The “mincing step, small voice, and languid eye” illustrates an endeavor to not draw attention.” However, the passage commences with ” lo!” –  look! Furthermore, her robe is illustrated as a “patch-work” with clashing “pride,” referring to the two mediums of Art – singing and acting – that were used in operas.

Pope visual satire

This provocative image by Alexander Pope’s bullies illustrates Tiny Pope as a “patch-work” animal of a man, with his physical disabilities in height and penile length, as illustrated by Cibber’s hand gesture. Furthermore, he is ridiculed for his absence of standards for women, – a prostitute with venereal disease – dehumanizing him to an animal. Moreover, he is saved by Cibber, a target of Pope’s contempt. The prostitute that Tiny Pope is sprawled over is a reference to the “Harlot” with the “languid eye,” Opera, a satirical creature birthed from Pope’s commentary. Therefore, Tiny Pope is ravishing the object of his satire, whilst being saved by the target of his satire, and Warwick observes as the audience. This suggestive image not only bullies Alexander Pope’s physical disability, it critiques The Dunciad as a sexual debauchery between Pope and his beloved satire, that is observed by Warwick. Through interpreting the provocative image by Alexander Pope’s bullies with the reading of The Dunciad, can we recognize the allusions used to bully Pope, and question the oppressive mentality of his bullies.

-Hongxi Su

Alexander Pope, dope?

Pope visual satire

“Beneath her foot-stool, Science 10  groans in Chains,
And Wit dreads Exile, Penalties and Pains.
There foam’d rebellious Logic, gagg’d and bound,
There, stript, fair Rhet’ric languish’d on the ground;
His blunted Arms by Sophistry 11  are born, [25]
And shameless Billingsgate 12  her Robes adorn.
Morality, by her false Guardians drawn,
Chicane in Furs, and Casuistry in Lawn, 13 
Gasps, as they straiten at each end the cord,
And dies, when Dulness gives her Page the word. 14  [30]”

The viscereal image that Alexander Pope paints of Science, Wit, Logic, Rhetoric, Sophistication, Morality, Chicane, and Casuistry being bound and humiliated by Dullness is ironic considering the image that the dull members of his society painted of Pope himself. A catholic, like his last name may suggest, smaller than your average Englishman, and uneducated by the traditional education system available to non-catholics and the wealthy at the time– Pope was not a man of usual or privileged circumstance. Pope’s poem, is a satire because it is speaking truth to the powers that be- a reality the punches down on the working class and members of different religious societies. But the image provided below, depicting Pope as a tiny man-child attempting to have sex with (an anatomically incorrect) woman, but is prevented from doing so by Coolley Cibber- one of the men that Pope mocks and depicts in his Epic. Cibber is a hero, not just because he saved Tiny Pope from getting an STD, but from being humilated for doing something that is more adult than Pope actually is.  Cibber, the Poet Laureate of Pope’s time, only rose to his high and lofty position (one that towers over Pope in real life and in this piece) because he was well connected to the Whig Party.

Imagine having a classmate or a coworker who may irk you at first, but they are popular and well liked by certain people of a high and controversial social standing- so you assume they have talent. That is, until you learn that they have plagarized. Their ideas were never their own and they took credit for them anyway, and were uplifted into a higher social and political standing because of their political affiliation and privilege. This is the sort of thing that Pope witnessed, it was his experience with Cibber. Pope making fun of Cibber isn’t offensive or especially damaging to Cibber’s reputation, it won’t really do much. But Cibber and his affilates creating political cartoons that paint Cibber in a benevolent light and Pope in a bad one? That benefits only them and tarnishes that little is there of Pope’s reputation. It ruins Pope’s life more to be mocked by Cibber and his associates, than it does for Pope to do the same.

Its the same violent behavior that Pope describes Dullness doing. What Pope has written is dope, but Pope’s critics (or bullies) portray him as a dope.

Maria Nguyen-Cruz

Well, Okay Then

-Asia Reyna

“ O! would the Sons of Men once think their Eyes

And Reason giv’n them but to study Flies!

See Nature in some partial narrow shape, [455]

And let the Author of the Whole escape:

Learn but to trifle; or, who most observe,

To wonder at their Maker, not to serve.”

I think that Image 3 “The Poetical Tom-Titt” could be poking at this particular segment, or similar ones to that. Where Pope criticizes religious men and pokes at the Sons of Men wasting their ability to think and ponder, could be a very jarring to men like Cibber or Warwick. The image dictates that Pope is not as righteous or enlightened as he claims to be. Pope is being dragged from the breast of a woman as if  He literally belittled Pope in this image by getting rid of his stature and calling out his manhood. It felt fitting because Warwick is using his eyes to watch through a cutout portrait as if he was a fly on the wall.

Pope’s style of writing in this particular book was an eloquent mock epic to give a fancy clapback to the people of England. Where Cibber was the face of the bullying, Pope chose to take the mocking in stride and elegance. In his writing, he merely continues to criticize his bullies with logic. He chose not to be affected by the mocking of his manhood or the slander of his name by suggestion prostitution. Instead, Pope became a very prolific face of satirical literature, demonstrating that his words were much more valuable than mediocre slander and caricature. He goes as far as to mention the dullness of literature as well, probably creating much more criticism post-Dunciad as Pope’s work was already a large target for slander. What Pope mentions and proves through the onslaught of literary bullying, is that people do not like seeing their own ugly reflection thrown back at them. By using such proper and fanciful techniques, Pope chooses the high brow-high ground technique to show people that he is a mature and trustworthy writer. He does not sink to the level of slander and immature tactic as the others, despite creating a mock epic as his revenge of choice.

“Okay, then” – Pope, probably, via 2019

A Shot in the Dark


Alexander Pope took it upon himself to call out and criticize not only some very well known people, but society itself in this lengthy poem. The picture above is just one example of the backlash Pope received after publishing his epic poem. In the picture there is Pope with the body of a rat standing on a pedestal while leaning on a stack of his works. In the title he is referred to as a “hyper-critic and commentator” because in his poem he exposed a lot of people and criticized a lot of works, hence the artist gave Pope the body of a rat in the drawing. The artist may have felt that the Dunciad was Pope being condescending, so he put Pope on his pedestal. After all, the whole poem is about a world where people of a low intelligence are seen as the elite society. You may also notice the donkey, also known as the ass, creeping around the corner of the pedestal. Also, hanging from his ear is a letter to the publisher of a certain work. I am assuming this is calling Pope an ass for name dropping in his poem. Pope is seriously critiquing the values of humans. This is just one example of where that becomes very clear in the poem:

“We nobly take the high Priori Road, 113
And reason downward, till we doubt of God:
Make Nature still incroach upon his plan;
And shove him off as far as e’er we can:
Thrust some Mechanic Cause into his place;”

In this block, I believe he is saying that humans would sooner worship something as Ludacris as a machine before they would worship God. The whole point of Pope being facetious like this is to point out that the people of his time period are giving all these below average writers credit for work that is not really that good or in some cases stolen. Whoever drew this portrait was either one of the writers that Pope went after or someone of lower intelligence who felt personally attacked by Pope’s Dunciad.

-Oliver Briggs

The Bullies have a Point


And keep them in the pale 55  of Words till death. [160]
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]

[Imagination] is kept in the simple confines of “words”.No matter the talent, and now matter how well articulated, there is one thing on everyone’s mind.A poet is a poet, ink to paper, all they will ever be. A shame, a poet can’t translate their imagination to the reader because of a mental barrier.

Pope satires the church and their teachings, as they think they are on a pedestal. Their constant preaching is read by the “sheep” that they Shepard around. A papal crown adorns his head, as Pope is depicted as a monkey (humans are created in God’s image, but we are just primates). How can mere humans ever possibly comprehend what God would want for them? How can mortal humans even attempt to word what a God would preach?

Unfortunately, Pope’s bullies (critics) are right. Pope is not an outlier and is subject to his same criticism. He is only after-all, a mere poet, yet in The Dunciad, his satire makes him seem pompous. Pope is depicted as a hypocritical rat, adorning the very same crown he made fun of. How fitting there is what appears to be a donkey (ass) right next to him.

-Robert Morales