That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relations of systems and things. That Man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general order of things, and conformable to ends and relations to him unknown. That it is partly upon his ignorance of future events, and partly upon the hope of a future state, that all his happiness in the present depends. The pride of aiming at more knowledge, and pretending to more perfection, the cause of Man's error and misery.
Introduction Pope says that the purpose of the poem is to "vindicate the ways of God to man. How does contemporay man "vindicate the ways of God to man"?
Man has limited existence on earth. He is born, looks around for a while, then he dies. That we can judge only with regard to our own system, being ignorant of the relation of systems and things. Pope poses the essential question: He addresses the problem logically in the remaining stanzas.
Man is limited in what he knows, and so can judge only from what he knows. What does the Great Chain of Being refer to? That man is not to be deemed imperfect, but a being suited to his place and rank in the creation, agreeable to the general order of things, and conformable to ends and relations to him unknown.
Man is not capable of knowing his relation to the rest of the universe. Man is part of a system where there are weeker things below him and stronger above him. How is the human condition comparable to that of an ox and a horse?
That it is partly upopn his ignorance of future events, and partly upon the hope of a future state, that all his happiness in the present depends. No other animals presume to second-guess God through science or philosophy. Our "blindness to the future" is a kind gift.
Explain the example with the lamb. Heaven treats mankind equally with other being in the universe.
The impiety of putting himself in the place of God, and judging of the fitness or unfitness, perfection or imperfection, justice or injustice of his dispensations.
Man should not reach for something he is not meant to be. The absurdity of conceiting himself to the final cause of creation, or expecting that perfection in the moral world which is not in the natural. Men are prone to believe that the universe was created for their exclusive use.
In what ways is man conceited, according to Pope? Does Nature err when bad things happen to man? The unreasonableness of his complaints against Providence, while on the one hand he demands the perfections of the angels, and on the other the bodily qualifications of the brutes; though, to possess any of the sensitive faculties in a higher degree, would render him miserable.
In fact, all human unhappiness stems from wanting to be or have something humans are not meant to be or have. Man wants to be both an angel and a brute, and if it was up to him he would want to power over all creatures, but Nature has assigned to all creatures, including man, their proper place.
Why does man feel that nature has been unkind to him? Man should consider it a bliss that he cannot comprehend beyond mankind. That throughout the whole visible world, an universal order and gradation in the sentual and mental faculties is observed, which causes a subordination of creature to creature, and all creatures to man.
The gradation of sense, instinct, thought, reflection, reason: Therefore, some other force must have created the universe for the use of a variety of creatures. How much further this order and subordination of living creatures may extend, above and below us; were any part of which broken, not that part only, but the whole connected creation must be destroyed.
Each link of the chain is necessary for the strength of the whole — no one is more necessary than any other. The extravagance, madness, and pride of such a desire. Pope completes his metaphor: Man is not an individual, but a part of a whole "Whose body Nature is, and God the soul;". The Consequence of all, the absolute submission due to Providence, both as to our present and future state.
Read and comment on the verses that start with "AllAn Essay on Man Alexander Pope. The following entry presents criticism of Pope's poem An Essay on Man. See also, Rape of the Lock Criticism and Alexander Pope Criticism. The philosophical poem An. Of the Nature and State of Man, with Respect to the Universe.
An Essay on Man. Alexander Pope. Complete Poetical Works Of systems possible, if ’t is confest: That wisdom infinite must form the best, Where all must fall or not coherent be, And all that rises rise in due degree;.
Alexander Pope(21 May – 30 May ) Pope was an 18th-century English poet, best known for his satirical verse and for his translation of Homer.
Alexander Pope was born to Alexander Pope Senior (–), a linen merchant of Plough Court, Lombard Street, London, and his wife Edith (née Turner) (–), who were both Catholics. Edith's sister Christiana was the wife of the famous miniature painter Samuel Cooper. Alexander Pope’s oeuvre refers to the Enlightenment era, the age of Reason and Science.
Philosophers of that time rejected the ideas of the Middle Ages and Renaissance by . Famous for its expressive breadth and insightful wisdom, “An Essay on Man” () has been extremely popular during last three centuries. Its author, Alexander Pope, was a representative of the Neoclassical movement of the Enlightenment era.