Pope’s Essay on Man, a masterpiece of concise summary in itself, can fairly be summed up as an optimistic enquiry into mankind’s place in the vast Chain of of the poem’s four Epistles takes a different perspective, presenting Man in relation to the universe, as individual, in society and, finally, tracing his prospects for achieving the goal of choosing stately rhyming couplets to explore his theme, Pope sometimes becomes obscure through compressing his language overmuch. By and large, the work is a triumphant exercise in philosophical poetry, communicating its broad and commonplace truths in superbly balanced phrases which remind us that Pope, alas, is one of the most quoted but least read writers in English:“Hope springs eternal in the human breast: Man never is, but always To be Blest.”(Summary by Martin Geeson)
The poem is an attempt to “vindicate the ways of God to Man,” a variation on Milton’s attempt in Paradise Lost to “justify the ways of God to Man” . It challenges as prideful an anthropocentric world-view. The poem is not solely Christian; however, it makes an assumption that man has fallen and must seek his own salvation. (Wikipedia)
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