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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.
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.
The Enlightenment emphasized the glory of reason and science and reflected the ideal that man could understand the world around him.
This hope for understanding and outlining the human condition is at the heart of An Essay on Man.
Happiness, Pope argues, can be achieved by all people through the process of living a virtuous and balanced life.
If a person understands that he or she cannot understand God, then he or she will not attempt judge other people.To understand the poem and the impulse behind it, it's important to look at the ideas that were popular when Pope was writing.Pope lived from 1688 to 1744 and was considered one of the most definitive and influential voices of the first half of the 18th century.As a member, you'll also get unlimited access to over 79,000 lessons in math, English, science, history, and more.Plus, get practice tests, quizzes, and personalized coaching to help you succeed.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.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.The third epistle deals with how the individual interacts with society.Pope argues that, in addition to the insight that it can offer regarding a person's relationship with himself, the cosmos offers insight into how individuals can find harmony with society and the natural world.