Theme Of Literary Devices In An Essay On Women By Mary Leapor

1339 Words 6 Pages
Authors have utilized literary devices in their works from the beginning of time. However, with the advent of the Neoclassical age in 1600’s Britain, the societal virtues of balance, harmony, order, and reason began to receive much more emphasis. The sentiment permeated every area of life, especially concerning literature. Mary Leapor, an English poet and maid working in the 1700’s, exemplifies this new focus and threads many of these elements in her poetry to elevate it to the levels of the ancient classics; something audiences craved. Her work, An Essay on Women by Leapor, utilizes a great number of literary devices based on classicism and neoclassicism, but four of the most common and prevalent are found in the author’s use of poetic diction, …show more content…
The entire poem consists of heroic couplets, which are pairs of rhyming lines composed in iambic pentameter. By constituting the poem in this manner, the author assured that her work would be on par with other “epic” poetry of the era. The pattern of five stressed and unstressed syllables requires incredible discipline to master, thereby shooting any work that utilizes them properly into the highest echelons of literature. Leapor’s seemingly effortless insertion of the device indicates strong poetic talent and appealed to her audience’s need for balance and harmony. Each of the couplets often contains a complete compartmentalized thought further increasing the intricacy involved. A wonderful example exists in lines 15-18; “Till mighty Hymen lifts his sceptred rod, / And sinks her glories with a fatal nod.” Dissolves her triumphs, sweeps her charms away, / And turns the goddess to her native clay. In these two couplets, unlike in blank verse poems, the thought completes itself neatly inside its parameters. The natural quality of the sentence structure may be lost but the reference to classical ideals is …show more content…
Leapor makes a quiet and discrete appeal to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. In The Republic, Plato, as Socrates, constructs the allegory to explain the philosopher’s search for truth. People become trapped in the darkness of the cave, staring at fake shadows cast by puppets and convinced that what they are experiencing is real. When they finally break free, it is a long and arduous task to rip themselves from the safety of a lie into the truth of the sun outside. Leapor attaches this message to her opinion on women. For their entire lives, especially in the 1700’s when this poem was written, women are told that their value rests solely on their appearance and economic status. Lines 7-8 heavily suggest that point: “What numbers for those charming features pine, If blooming acres round her temples twine!” Only pretty rich women can ever hope to be successful as they will be the ones to marry and live in luxury. This is the lie cast on the cave wall by firelight. Leapor reveals the truth –the real world that exists outside the dark cave. Women are much more than their looks and money, and in fact all of those attributes will fade with age as is shown in lines 24-25 “And yet that face her partial husband tires, / And those bright eyes, that all the world admires.” It is imperative that women focus on honing their skills and education because those ideas will

Related Documents