An Essay On Man Summary Alexander Pope

he was chiefly a translator, and made much money by satisfying the French-classical taste with versions of the “Iliad” and “Odyssey.” Under George I.

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The First Book, in four Epistles, was to treat of man in the abstract, and of his relation to the Universe. The Second Book was to treat of Man Intellectual; the Third Book, of Man Social, including ties to Church and State; the Fourth Book, of Man Moral, was to illustrate abstract truth by sketches of character.

This part of the design is represented by the Moral Essays, of which four were written, to which was added, as a fifth, the Epistle to Addison which had been written much earlier, in 1715, and first published in 1720. One pair is upon the Characters of Men and on the Characters of Women, which would have formed the opening of the subject of the Fourth Book of the Essay: the other pair shows character expressed through a right or a wrong use of Riches: in fact, Money and Morals. The fourth (to the Earl of Burlington) was first published in 1731, its title then being “Of Taste;” the third (to Lord Bathurst) followed in 1732, the year of the publication of the first two Epistles on the “Essay on Man.” In 1733, the year of publication of the Third Epistle of the “Essay on Man,” Pope published his Moral Essay of the “Characters of Men.” In 1734 followed the Fourth Epistle of the “Essay on Man;” and in 1735 the “Characters of Women,” addressed to Martha Blount, the woman whom Pope loved, though he was withheld by a frail body from marriage.

And when his closing hymn was condemned as the freethinker’s hymn, its censurers surely forgot that their arguments against it would equally apply to the Lord’s Prayer, of which it is, in some degree, a paraphrase.

The first design of the Essay on Man arranged it into four books, each consisting of a distinct group of Epistles.

Milton sought to set forth the story of the Fall in such way as to show that God was love.

Pope dealt with the question of God in Nature, and the world of Man. de Crousaz, Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics in the University of Lausanne, and defended by Warburton, then chaplain to the Prince of Wales, in six letters published in 1739, and a seventh in 1740, for which Pope (who died in 1744) was deeply grateful.

Thus the two works were, in fact, produced together, parts of one design.

Pope’s Satires, which still deal with characters of men, followed immediately, some appearing in a folio in January, 1735.

The intellectual scepticism, based upon an honest search for truth, could end only in making truth the surer by its questionings.

The other form of scepticism, which might be traced in England from the low-minded frivolities of the court of Charles the Second, was widely spread among the weak, whose minds flinched from all earnest thought.

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