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ALEXANDER POPE 1688 1744 Poet of the Age of Reason Sketches of Pope Pope s Poetry Essay on Criticism Of all the causes which conspire to blind Man s erring judgment and misguide the mind What the weak head with strongest bias rules Is pride the never failing vice of fools Whatever Nature has in worth denied She gives in large recruits of needful pride For as in bodies thus in souls we find What wants in blood and spirits swell d with wind Pride where wit fails steps in to our defence And fills up all the mighty void of sense If once right reason drives that cloud away Truth breaks upon us with resistless day Trust not yourself but your defects to know Make use of ev ry friend and ev ry foe Alexander Pope Influences Descartes the emphasis upon reason order harmony Leibnitz Rational Theology Alexander Pope Poetic Form The Heroic Couplet The heroic couplet s rhyme scheme was ordinarily closed rhymed couplets The meter was Iambic Pentameter The couplets often contrasted opposing ideas in an epigrammatic manner Know then thyself presume not God to scan The proper study of mankind is man 93 Themes in Pope s Essay on Man Evil happens naturally the by product of natural fault it is not directly caused by God Pride keeps us from seeing our role in God s world we should not presume to judge God God s universe must be coherent with logic and reason Humans fit into an elaborate chain of being composed of lifeforms and inanimate objects which are all necessary for the whole mechanism to work St John s Problem Why is There Evil Laugh where we must be candid where we can But vindicate the ways of God to man Pope The existence of evil in the world must at all times be the greatest of all problems which the mind encounters when it reflects on God and His relation to the world G H Joyce a Jesuit Father God is all Good God is all Powerful God is Omniscient Leibniz s Rational Theology Theodicy Truths of philosophy and theology can t contradict God chose from an infinite number of

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