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Rather, human beings must accept that their existence is the result of a perfect creator who created everything as perfectly as it can possibly be.The second epistle uses the harmony described between humanity and the cosmos in the previous epistle to illustrate how humans can achieve harmony within themselves.Happiness, Pope argues, can be achieved by all people through the process of living a virtuous and balanced life.
Try it risk-free 'Hope springs eternal in the human breast' (I.95) writes Alexander Pope in his famous poem An Essay on Man.
There's a good chance you've heard this quote before, which illustrates just how influential this work is.
In the poem, Pope attempts to 'vindicate' God's ways to man, a task that clearly echoes John Milton's famous claim in the epic poem Paradise Lost, which was first published in 1667 and told the story of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
However, unlike Milton's Paradise Lost, An Essay on Man is not specifically Christian and instead attempts to identify an ethical system that applies to humanity in a general sense.
In addition to referencing the aesthetic ideals that Pope helped introduce, An Essay on Man also reflects some of the central attitudes held by writers of the 18th century.
Most importantly, Pope's attempt to define a system that man should accept reflects the fact that he was living in a time in which thinkers hoped to understand the natural rules that governed society.When Pope began the poem, he originally intended to make it much longer than the final version became, which further demonstrates just how idealistic he was.The poem was dedicated to Lord Bolingbroke, a political figure with whom Pope had many philosophical conversations and who likely helped Pope come to believe in many of the ideas he presents in An Essay on Man.At the core of this argument is the idea that humans must understand themselves as pieces in a great puzzle; the value of each person and animal comes from their relationship with each other.The fourth epistle is concerned with happiness and our ability to apply our love for ourselves to the world around us.An Essay on Man consists of four epistles, which is a term that is historically used to describe formal letters directed to a specific person.The first epistle looks at man's relation to the universe in order to present the concept of harmony that is referred to throughout the rest of the poem.In addition to its impressive breadth and innovative use of poetic forms, An Essay on Man is known for its insightful wisdom.In fact, Pope has become one of the most quoted English poets, not only because of the beauty of his work, but also because of the wise insight that pervades much of his poetry.His work was part of the Neoclassical movement that reflected the ideals of the Enlightenment era.The Enlightenment began in the middle of the 17th century and lasted until the end of the 18th century.