Canto 1

As Belinda sleeps and dreams, we learn from her guardian Sylph, Ariel, that she is protected by supernatural beings who guard women’s chastity. Ariel warns Belinda that a dreadful event will soon befall her. When Belinda is awoken by her dog Shock, she forgets all about the dream.

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Canto 2

While on a boat to the palace, the Baron, a young gentleman, is determined to steal Belinda’s beautiful locks for himself. Though the gods listen to his prayer for success in his quest, they decide to only half-grant it. Ariel remembers that a bad event has been foretold and assigns a troop of bodyguards to guard Belinda and her possessions.

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Canto 3

At the palace, Belinda plays a card game and beats the Baron. During the serving of coffee, the Baron attempts to cut the lock of hair from Belinda without being seen, but the Sylphs intervene. Ariel enters Belinda’s mind and discovers her secret desire for an earthly lover, prompting Ariel to give up on protecting Belinda, and the Baron cuts her lock.

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Canto 4

After the Sylphs withdraw from Belinda’s side, a gnome named Umbriel unleashes a bag of emotions on Belinda, fueling her ire and despair. Belinda’s friend Thalestris delivers a speech intended to convince Belinda to seek revenge, and when the Baron refuses to return the hair, Umbriel releases more emotions onto Belinda, throwing her into a state of sorrow and self-pity.

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Canto 5

Clarissa’s speech in which she questions society’s value of beauty goes unheard, and a chaotic tussle ensues that finds Belinda victorious against the Baron. When she demands the return of the lock, they discover that it was lost in the chaos.

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