Alexander Pope, who lived from 1688-1744, was an English poet who modeled himself after great poets of the classical past. Verse translations, moral and critical essays, satires, and the development of the heroic couplet, made him the leading poet of his age. Pope, born in London, was the son of a cloth merchant. His parents were Roman Catholics, which automatically barred him from England's Protestant universities. Until he was 12 years old, he was educated mainly by priests; afterward, he primarily taught himself. A devastating illness, most likely tuberculosis of the spine, struck him in childhood, leaving him deformed. He never grew taller than 4 ft 6 in and was subject to suffering horrible headaches. Possibly as a result of this condition, he was hypersensitive and exceptionally irritable the rest of his life. He was a very quarrelsome man and attacked his literary contemporaries. To few, he was warm and affectionate; he had a long and close friendship with Irish writer Jonathan Swift. The Essay on Man is a philosophical poem, written in heroic couplets and published between 1732 and 1734. It is an at
"Pope felt and thought by shocks and electric flashes. Pope"tms assertion of reason derive from his intention to show that man is a functioning part of a massive system, and should remain part of his "state and place"(White p. Man, but not for that, no action could attend, and, but for this, were active to no end" (II, 59-62). The most ideal world may include friction and pain, and man may be weak. In his attempt to justify God in the face of suffering, he does not rule out the existence of evil. He argues that although nothing is evil in itself, vice and virtue still exist. The two main concerns of Pope were, (1) "What is, in fact, man"tms nature" and (2) "can that nature be justified by observation" (White p. The question was often "raised regarding the relation between the argument of the "Essay on Man" and that of certain prose manuscripts of Pope"tms "guide"tm Bolingbroke. tempt to rationalize the ways of God to Man, and a warning that man himself is not the center of all things. He displays this in saying "Self-love, the spring of motion, acts the soul; reason"tms comparing balance rules the world.
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