Explanation Of An Essay On Man By Alexander Pope

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Explanation Of An Essay On Man By Alexander Pope

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An Essay on Man: Epistle II by Alexander Pope - Lec 46

Alexander pope as a satirist. Read more from 1st Year click Johnson had great admiration for Alexander Pope and in this article, he has expressed his feelings and understanding about this great stalwart Of the English literary world, Alexander Pope. Pape was a giant personality of his time. He was beautiful in his sensibility. Although his physical constitution was feeble and weak. Even his body was distorted in front and he did not enjoy good health in his life. His countenance was not at all displeasing and his eyes were animated and vivid. His natural deformity of accidental distortion and his disordered vital functions made his life along and constant series of diseases.

His most frequent assailant was the headache from which he used to get relief by inhaling the steam of coffee which he very frequently required. Pope was always assisted by a domestic lady who knew him after the middle of his life. In fact, most of its petty peculiarities were communicated by this lady. He was so weak ask stand. He was in perpetual need of female attendants. He was also extremely sensitive to cold and he used to wear a kind of fur doublet under a shirt of a very coarse warm linen with fine sleeve.

Voltaire called it "the most beautiful, the most useful, the most sublime didactic poem ever written in any language". Kant was fond of the poem and would recite long passages from it to his students. Later however, Voltaire renounced his admiration for Pope's and Leibniz 's optimism and even wrote a novel, Candide , as a satire on their philosophy of ethics. Rousseau also critiqued the work, questioning "Pope's uncritical assumption that there must be an unbroken chain of being all the way from inanimate matter up to God. The essay, written in heroic couplets , comprises four epistles. Pope began work on it in , and had finished the first three by They appeared in early , with the fourth epistle published the following year. The poem was originally published anonymously; Pope did not admit authorship until Pope reveals in his introductory statement, "The Design", that An Essay on Man was originally conceived as part of a longer philosophical poem which would have been expanded on through four separate books.

According to his friend and editor, William Warburton , Pope intended to structure the work as follows:. The four epistles which had already been published would have comprised the first book. The second book was to contain another set of epistles, which in contrast to the first book would focus on subjects such as human reason, the practical and impractical aspects of varied arts and sciences, human talent, the use of learning, the science of the world, and wit, together with "a satire against the misapplication" of those same disciplines. The third book would discuss politics and religion, while the fourth book was concerned with "private ethics" or "practical morality. Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of Mankind is Man. He emphasizes the rightness of our place in the chain of being, for just as we steer the lives of lesser creatures, God has the ability to pilot our fate.

Furthermore, he asserts that because we can only analyze what is around us, we cannot be sure that there is not a greater being or sphere beyond our level of comprehension; it is most logical to perceive the universe as functioning through a hierarchal system. Pope utilizes the beginning of section three to elaborate on the functions of the chain of being. In the fourth stanza, Pope warns against the negative effects of excessive pride. He places his primary examples in those who audaciously judge the work of God and declare one person to be too fortunate and another not fortunate enough.

In the beginning of the fifth stanza, Pope personifies Pride and provides selfish answers to questions regarding the state of the universe. He depicts Pride as a hoarder of all gifts that Nature yields. The image of Nature as a benefactor and Man as her avaricious recipient is countered in the next set of lines: Pope instead entertains the possible faults of Nature in natural disasters such as earthquakes and storms. Stanza six connects the different inhabitants of the earth to their rightful place and shows why things are the way they should be. After highlighting the happiness in which most creatures live, Pope facetiously questions if God is unkind to man alone. He asks this because man consistently yearns for the abilities specific to those outside of his sphere, and in that way can never be content in his existence.

Pope counters the notorious greed of Man by illustrating the pointless emptiness that would accompany a world in which Man was omnipotent. The seventh stanza explores the vastness of the sensory and cognitive spectrums in relation to all earthly creatures. Pope uses an example related to each of the five senses to conjure an image that emphasizes the intricacies with which all things are tailored. Pope then moves to the differences in mental abilities along the chain of being. These mental functions are broken down into instinct, reflection, memory, and reason.

Pope believes reason to trump all, which of course is the one function specific to Man. Reason thus allows man to synthesize the means to function in ways that are unnatural to himself. In section 8 Pope emphasizes the depths to which the universe extends in all aspects of life. This includes the literal depths of the ocean and the reversed extent of the sky, as well as the vastness that lies between God and Man and Man and the simpler creatures of the earth. Pope stresses the maintenance of order so as to prevent the breaking down of the universe.

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