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Transcript

The arrest - Plate IV

Tom Rakewell, that has dissipated his father's fortune an is in dept, is on his way to Queen Caroline's Birthday when he's cought by two officers that easily destroy his hope to not be seen in his sedan chair. The two are helped by one of the man's creditors who has run him to the ground.

"The Arrest" is the fourth plate of the Rake's Progress' eight paintings series. The Canva depicts the heir's plan to escape arrest from debt by Welsh bailiffs. The scene takes place in an afternoon in London in St. James' street, in front of a saddler's shop.

Sarah Young, Tom's pregnant ex-girlfriend, to whom he had romised marriage before dismissing her, offers her seamstress salary stored in her purse to the bailifs to stop the young' man's arrest to occur. Her job as seamstress is confirmed by the box of ribbons with her name engraved on it which is accidentally dropped. Despite the ripple effects that Tom's action have on the people he's surronded by, therefore on Sarah, she still cares for him and feels in need to support him.

When Tom is tugged out of his chair, he drops his gold-topped cane which is quickly appropriated by a ragged street child.

The lamplighter to the left, is filling a street lamp with oil up on a ladder when, distracted by the scene below, pours oil on tom's wig. This is another scene that adds up to the chaos portrayed in the canva.

On the opposite side of the painting with regard to the protagonist, there's one of the two bailifs who squints to focus on the criminal. Him facing Tom is an allusion to Tom facing the consequences of his actions.