Contradictions In An Essay On Man

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Here is a section-by-section explanation of the first epistle: Introduction (1-16): The introduction begins with an address to Henry St.

John, Lord Bolingbroke, a friend of the poet from whose fragmentary philosophical writings Pope likely drew inspiration for .

This order is, more specifically, a hierarchy of the “Vast chain of being” in which all of God’s creations have a place (237).

Man’s place in the chain is below the angels but above birds and beasts.

Thus every element of the universe has complete perfection according to God’s purpose.

Pope concludes the first epistle with the statement “Whatever is, is right,” meaning that all is for the best and that everything happens according to God’s plan, even though man may not be able to comprehend it (294).

When the Essay on Man was published, Voltaire sent a copy to the Norman abbot Du Resnol and may possibly have helped the abbot prepare the first French translation, which was so well received.

The very title of his Discours en vers sur l'homme (1738) indicates the extent Voltaire was influenced by Pope.

It has been pointed out that at times, he does little more than echo the same thoughts expressed by the English poet.

Even as late as 1756, the year in which he published his poem on the destruction of Lisbon, he lauded the author of Essay on Man.


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