Essay on Man
Explanations of “Essay on Man”
Know then…………………is Man.
In these lines from “Essay on Man” the poet Alexander Pope, advises man to confine his studies to himself and to his kind. Man should try first to know and understand himself. There are lots of things that need to be explored. He is a great riddle. Over the ages philosophers have tried to explicate his thought and behaviour but the work is still incomplete. So if man wants to study, he should study himself first. He shouldn’t venture to question the design of God. For man, he himself is the most proper subject of study.
Placed on this…………………….Stoic’s pride.
Reference-These lines occur in Essay on Man’ composed by Alexander Pope
Context– In these lines the poet makes an ironic comment on man as a social animal.
Explanation– About man’s position the poet says that he holds an intermediate place in the chain of being. He is sandwiched between the animal and heavenly worlds. He is ignorant but he calls himself wise. He is rude and insolent but claims to be great.
In fact it is very difficult to rank man. It is not that he is an utter fool but he is not wise even. He is placed somewhere between the two extremes. His knowledge in enough to disappoint scepties as they denied the possibility of knowledge. At the same time his weaknesses are too many to allow Stoics to take pride in him because they endured pain or hardship without complaint. Man thus defies definition
Notes: ‘Darkly wise; and ‘rudely great’ ar good examples of Oxymoron.
He hangs between………………..but to err.
Reference– This passage has been extracted from ‘Essay on Man’ composed by Alexander Pope.
Context– The poet is of the view that man occupies a middle state in God’s scheme of things. In these lines he holds his intermediate place responsible for his vacillating nature.
Explanation– The poet says than man is always in a state of dilemma. He cannot decide whether to act or to be inert. He doesn’t know whether he should consider himself a god or a beast. He is not certain whether he should be a spiritualist or a materialist. He is born only to die. He reasons out things only to make more mistakes.
Alike in ignorance………………….or disabused.
Reference– These lines have been taken from Essay on Man’ composed by Alexander Pope.
Context– The poet thinks that man is in a perpetual state of dilemma. Here, he is trying to diagnose man’s make-up. .
Explanation– The poet says that man’s mental faculties are such that he always remains ignorant whether he thinks too little or too much. Born with an inherent combination of thought and passion, he always remains confused. He first conceives false notions and then tries to get rid of them. This cycle of committing mistakes and correcting them goes on until he breathes his last.
Created half to rise………………..riddle of the world.
Reference– This passage has been taken from “Essay on Man” composed by Alexander Pope.
Context– In these lines the poet tries to sum up his views on man.
Explanation– The poet says that man a bundle of contradictions. He is gifted with noble and base elements in equal measure. He is both angelic and demoniac. He is master of all things yet a prey to each one of them. He is the victor and the victim both. He is the only creature that can distinguish right from wrong yet he goes on committing mistakes endlessly He is the pride as well as the butt of the world. He remains a riddle plausible explanation.
Go, wondrous creature!……….. and regulate the sun.
Reference to the Context- These lines have been taken from the poem “Essay on Man” composed by Alexander Pope. The poem has been extracted from “Epistle II- Man in himself” Which deals with the power of man. Here the poet highlights the glory of man.
Explanation– Man is the prized creation of God, who created him in his own image. That is to man is nearer to God in caliber and capability. The poet address man as a wondrous creature and exhorts him to take strides. Man should mount higher and higher with the help of science. He should use scientific knowledge and win laurels. He can and therefore he should measure the earth, weight air and fathom the depth of ocean. Man is endowed with godly power. He should, therefore establish his supremacy over nature and unearth secrets. Armed with his superior scientific knowledge he can instruct the stars is known to him. He should known the secret of nature and all about the sun. With such knowledge at his command, he will be able to adjust time everywhere. It is the glory of man. We take pride in the power of man, which all of us naturally must possess.
Go, soar with Plato to…………quitting sense call imitating God.
Reference to the Context- These lines have been taken from the poem “Essay on Man” composed by Alexander Pope. The poem contains philosophical ideas of the poet on the existence of man. Here the poet hints at the capability of man.
Explanation- The poet exhorts man to compete with the famous philosopher Plato who would not rest contented with down to earth ideas. Plato soar high in the heavenly regions with his thoughtful mind. He would also does the same as he has the samne mental ability? He thinks of the world in such a way as make it good, perfect and fair. Alternatively, man acts as the followers of Plato. The followers of Plato went on the complicated philosopher ways of thinking. They left the wordly common sense and imitated the ways of God. In their vanity they imagined themselves as the Lord of the universe and posed as God themselves. Today’s man also sometimes does the same. He imitates the ways of God. But he is not God. The lesson he must learn is that he is merely a link in the great chain of God’s impartial order.
As Eastern priests in………into thyself, and be a fool!
Reference to the Context- These lines have been taken from the poem “Essay on Man” composed by Alexander Pope. It is a philosopher poem wherein the poet his speculative thought about man.
Explanation– The poet suggests man to work like eastern priests. They seem to be overwhelmed by excitement a pleasure and go round the world imitating the ways of the sun. They like the sun scatter eight of wisdom and teach the society to adopt ethical and moral living. Many may also do the same. He may show his fellow beings the path to morality and good living. He should really do this. He should teach eternal wisdom to the society at large. He should teach people how to regulate life for self-good. But this is not all. Man should not think that this was the only work for which he was sent to earth. He has got another pious duty to perform. Which he owes to himself. After fulfilling his obligations to the society and people, he must turn inward and peep into his own self. He has finally to leave all outward duties and sit quietly alone like a fool. As if he has nothing to do with the world outside. He now takes an inward journey to known his own-self. That is to say he has to attain self-knowledge which is the ultimate good of life.
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