And Life Contrasted-Or An Essay On Man

He stresses the fact that we can only understand things based on what is around us, embodying the relationship with empiricism that characterizes the Augustan era.

He claims that each creatures’ ignorance, including our own, allows for a full and happy life without the possible burden of understanding our fates.“Is the great chain, that draws all to agree, And drawn supports, upheld by God, or Thee?” – Alexander Pope (From “An Essay on Man”) “Then say not Man’s imperfect, Heav’n in fault; Say rather, Man’s as perfect as he ought.” – Alexander Pope (From “An Essay on Man”) “All are but parts of one stupendous whole, Whose body Nature is, and God the soul.” – Alexander Pope (From “An Essay on Man”) Alexander Pope is a British poet who was born in London, England in 1688 (World Biography 1).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.These bounds, or the Chain of Being, designate each living thing’s place in the universe, and only God can see the system in full.Pope is adamant in God’s omniscience, and uses that as a sure sign that we can never reach a level of knowledge comparable to His.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.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.However, he denies this possibility on the grounds that there is a larger purpose behind all happenings and that God acts by “general laws.” Finally, Pope considers the emergence of evil in human nature and concludes that we are not in a place that allows us to explain such things–blaming God for human misdeeds is again an act of pride. Stanza six connects the different inhabitants of the earth to their rightful place and shows why things are the way they should be.

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