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The caption of the first epistle is “Of the Nature and State of Man, with Respect to the Universe, ” and this subdivision deals with man’s topographic point in the universe. Pope argues that to warrant God’s ways to man must needfully be to warrant His ways in relation to all other things. God regulations over the whole existence and has no particular favourites, non man nor any other animal. By nature, the existence is an order of “strong connections, nice dependences, / Gradations just” ( 30-1 ) . This order is, more specifically, a hierarchy of the “Vast concatenation of being” in which all of God’s creative activities have a topographic point ( 237 ) . Man’s topographic point in the concatenation is below the angels but above birds and animals. Any divergence from this order would ensue in cosmic devastation. Because the existence is so extremely ordered, opportunity, as man understands it, does non be. Chance is instead “direction, which thou canst non see” ( 290 ) . Those things that man sees as disparate or unrelated are all “but parts of one colossal whole, / Whose organic structure nature is, and God the soul” ( 267-8 ) . Therefore every component of the existence has complete flawlessness harmonizing to God’s intent. Pope concludes the first epistle with the statement “Whatever is, is right, ” significance that all is for the best and that everything happens harmonizing to God’s program, even though man may non be able to grok it ( 294 ) .


Pope’s foremost epistle seems to back a kind of fatalism, in which all things are fated. Everything happens for the best, and man should non assume to oppugn God’s greater design, which he needfully can non understand because he is a portion of it. He farther does non possess the rational capableness to grok God’s order outside of his ain experience. These statements surely support a fatalistic universe position. Harmonizing to Pope’s thesis, everything that exists plays a function in the Godhead program. God therefore has a specific purpose for every component of His creative activity, which suggests that all things are fated. Pope, nevertheless, was ever greatly distressed by charges of fatalism. As a advocate of the philosophy of free will, Pope’s personal sentiments seem at odds with his philosophical decisions in the first epistle. Accommodating Pope’s ain positions with his fatalistic description of the universe represents an impossible undertaking.

The first epistle of An Essay on Man is its most ambitious. Pope provinces that his undertaking is to depict man’s topographic point in the “universal system” and to “vindicate the ways of God to man” ( 16 ) . In the poem’s prefatory reference, Pope more specifically depict his purpose to see “man in the abstract, his Nature and his State, since, to turn out any moral responsibility, to implement any moral principle, or to analyze the flawlessness of imperfectness of any animal whatsoever, it is necessary foremost to cognize what status and relation it is placed in, and what is the proper terminal and intent of its being.” Pope’s stated intent of the verse form further problematizes any critical reading of the first epistle. Harmonizing to Pope’s ain decisions, man’s limited mind can grok merely a little part of God’s order and likewise can hold cognition of merely half-truths. It hence seems the tallness of hubris to assume to warrant God’s ways to man. His ain philosophical decisions make this impossible. As a mere component portion of God’s design and a member of the hierarchal center province, Pope exists within God’s design and hence can non comprehend the greater logic of God’s order. To make so would convey merely wretchedness: “The cloud nine of man / Is, non to move of think beyond mankind” ( 189-90 ) .

Though Pope’s philosophical aspirations result in a instead incoherent epistle, the verse form demonstrates a consummate usage of the epic pair. Some of the most quoted lines from Pope’s plants really appear in this verse form. For illustration, the citation “Hope springs ageless in the human chest: / Man ne'er is, but ever to be blest” appears in the debatable first epistle ( 95-6 ) . Pope’s accomplishment with poetry therefore far outweighs his philosophical aspirations, and it is fortunate that he chose to compose in poetry instead than prose. Indeed, eighteenth-century critics saw An Essay on Man as a chiefly poetic work despite its philosophical subjects.

Summary of Epistle I from `` An Essay on Man '' by Alexander Pope

Pope’s statement `` WHATEVER IS, IS RIGHT '' ( 282 ) has some virtue to it. No affair what person may state, if I hold an apple in my manus and experience it ( and it feels as one ) , so gustatory sensation it ( and it tastes as one ) , so eventually trust on past experience ( and it matches the standards as one ) , I will come to cognize that What Is ( the apple ) , Is Right ( it is, in fact, an apple ) . However, Pope’s statement can non ever be right because our senses are non perfect. As Pope himself wrote, `` Why formed so weak, so small, and so blind? '' ( 276 ) , we, worlds, do n't hold the greatest strength among animals, nor the greatest size or sight. What we do hold ( which no other animate being can fit ) is our mental power and this has been known to be incorrect clip and clip once more. Therefore, Whatever Is can merely be that `` Whatever '' with our encephalon utilizing one ( or more ) of the five sense to come to understand. If, as seen throughout history, our mental powers are capable of errors, so that `` Whatever '' we hope to understand can non be relied upon to accurately, every clip, uncover what Is Right.

I agree that Pope was the `` WASP of Twicknham '' . I believe this because of what the metaphor `` WASP '' , to me, for this state of affairs is impeaching Pope of being. A WASP is similar to a bee but with one chief difference. Both a WASP and a bee green goods venom. However, a bee produces his venom to protect the burden he carries and the queen he serves. The burden the bee carries contributes to constructive substances ( honey ) . Unlike the bee, the WASP merely attacks its victims to set up itself as one to be left entirely or non to enrage. Pope was slightly like this: He stayed cooped up in his Villa of Twicknham and produced great unfavorable judgments of Man, Society, and those of a different belief. He wrote great chef-d'oeuvres yet they remain misanthropic in my position.

An essay on man epistle 1 summary

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The acknowledged maestro of the epic pair and one of the primary tastemakers of the Augustan age, Alexander Pope was a cardinal figure in the Neoclassical motion of the early eighteenth century. He was known for holding perfected the rhyming pair signifier of his graven image, John Dryden, and turned it to satiric and philosophical intents. His mock epic The Rape of the Lock ( 1714 ) derides elect society, while An Essay on Criticism ( 1711 ) and An Essay on Man ( 1733-34 ) articulate many of the cardinal dogmas of 18th-century aesthetic and moral doctrine. Pope was noted for his engagement in public feuds with the authors and publishing houses of low-end Grub Street, which led him to compose The Dunciad ( 1728 ) , a scathing history of England’s cultural diminution, and, at the terminal of his life, a series of related poetry essays and Horatian sarcasms that articulated and protested this diminution. Pope is besides remembered.

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