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18/02/2017

War, Peace and Sexual Politics in Alexander Pope’s Windsor-Forest.

Pope takes Queen Anne in his poem to be the embodiment of the peaceful
state of England that keeps out the hostile forces of political and moral
warfare. His political tendencies were towards Tory Humanism. The Tories
conceded trading rights with the West Indies, result of England gained the
slave monopoly in the Spanish New World. At the time of writing the final
part of the poem, Anne, a bringer of war and violence, died. As so, Pope
favoured the restoration of the Stuart line.

Anne is associated with a "threefold office": she is Luna in the heavens, Diana
upon earth and Hecate in hell. Pope represents Anne also as an image of a
beneficial mother of female sexuality. She gave royal assent to the act of
unification that puts her into a line of Stuart patriarchy which brings plenty to
the land. Therefore, it reflects the acquisition of expanded trade routes
provided by the Treaty of Utrecht that ended the dispute with France and the
Wars of the Spanish Succession. Anne's gender is hidden beneath the direct
sanction of God and she gives way to a male who can dominate the poem by
Father Thames who takes on the characteristics of Saturn, an old man with a
ship; the father of Astraea and the Golden Age, associated both with Anne.

The goddess Discord is the most vivid symbol of war in the poem, because of
Anne did not provide an heir, so it could provoke a struggle between the
Hanoverians and the Stuarts. The rape of Lodona is also a warlike chaotic
femininity that show the need to achieve men peace through the suppression
of disruptive women. Lodona is returned to her native shades but Diana
cannot return Lodona to her state, as well as Anne is unable to recapture
England before the war. Lodona is linked with the English people who are
controlled by Anne/Diana, and Windsor Forest is England/Arcadia.

The representation of war and peace in the poem is that masculinity is stable
and can conduce to peace, but femininity is totally the opposite, it is unstable
and can conduce to war. One example is the figure of the goddess Discord.
Queen Anne has to be subordinated to Father Thames, the crucial male figure,
in the sexual-political logic of the poem. Lodona is the figure of feminine
transgression and war, and both connect the patriarchy in the figures of the
poet-shepherd and Father Thames.
ÁNGELA MARÍN AMBROSIO.

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