Essay On Man By Alexander Pope Text

Thus every element of the universe has complete perfection according to God’s purpose.Pope concludes the first epistle with the statement “Whatever is, is right,” meaning that all is for the best and that everything happens according to God’s plan, even though man may not be able to comprehend it (294).Most important for Shaftesbury was the principle of Harmony and Balance, which he based not on reason but on the general ground of good taste.

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Voltaire could have been called a fervent admirer of Pope.

He hailed the Essay of Criticism as superior to Horace, and he described the Rape of the Lock as better than Lutrin.

For example, motivated by envy, a person may develop courage and wish to emulate the accomplishments of another; and the avaricious person may attain the virtue of prudence.

One can easily understand why, from the beginning, many felt that Pope had depended on Leibnitz.

Pope denied that he was indebted to Leibnitz for the ideas that inform his poem, and his word may be accepted.

Those ideas were first set forth in England by Anthony Ashley Cowper, Earl of Shaftesbury (1671-1731).In the edition of Lettres philosophiques published in that year, he wrote: "The Essay on Man appears to me to be the most beautiful didactic poem, the most useful, the most sublime that has ever been composed in any language." Perhaps this is no more than another illustration of how Voltaire could vacillate in his attitude as he struggled with the problems posed by the optimistic philosophy in its relation to actual experience.For in the Lisbon poem and in Candide, he picked up Pope's recurring phrase "Whatever is, is right" and made mockery of it: "Tout est bien" in a world filled with misery!Here is a section-by-section explanation of the first epistle: Introduction (1-16): The introduction begins with an address to Henry St.John, Lord Bolingbroke, a friend of the poet from whose fragmentary philosophical writings Pope likely drew inspiration for .(1733-34), a rationalistic effort to justify the ways of God to man philosophically.As has been stated in the introduction, Voltaire had become well acquainted with the English poet during his stay of more than two years in England, and the two had corresponded with each other with a fair degree of regularity when Voltaire returned to the Continent.When the Essay on Man was published, Voltaire sent a copy to the Norman abbot Du Resnol and may possibly have helped the abbot prepare the first French translation, which was so well received.The very title of his Discours en vers sur l'homme (1738) indicates the extent Voltaire was influenced by Pope.Chance is rather “direction, which thou canst not see” (290).Those things that man sees as disparate or unrelated are all “but parts of one stupendous whole, / Whose body nature is, and God the soul” (267-8).


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