Criticism Of Alexander Pope Essay

1180 words - 5 pages

Alexander Pope Born in the city of London, Alexander Pope is regarded to as the leading 18th century English poet, and as the greatest of all English verse satirists. His father and mother being Roman Catholics were prohibited from living within ten miles of London due to new acts of Parliament in the late 1600's. Between 1696 and 1700 Pope was tutored at home by a priest, and then enrolled in two Catholic schools, but was mainly self-educated. Due to his religion at the time, it was impossible for him to follow a career and be permitted to enroll in a university.Being able to read Latin, Greek French and Italian at a very young age he was already writing verses and at the age of sixteen didn't know that his later writings would be published as his "Pastorals."(The New Enc. Britannica; Vol. 9,605) In 1700 the Pope family moved to Whithill house at Binfield in Winsor Forest, up till then Pope was a healthy child until 5 years after their move he was diagnosed with tubercular bone disease. Throughout his life he would refer to it as "long Disease, my life."(http://landlow .stg.brown.edu/c32/pope/bio.html) The disease left him frail, likely to obtain various other illnesses, humpbacked, and fully-grown at a height of only four and a half feet. In his early twenties he frequently visited London and became acquainted with the literary publishers there, including Wychereley and Walsh (Collier's Encyclopedia, 397) In 1709 the "Pastorals," Popes first published work, appeared in Tonsong's Poetical Miscellanies. (Collier's Encyclopedia, 397) After his first published work "Pastorals," Pope's confidence in his writings grew. As his poems grew in numbers his topics became more abstract. In Pope's composition of "An Essay of Man," pope thought of the happiness, worship and glory in his description of man. As he composed his poem he made a first draft in which was called, "other harmony." (Waingrew, Eighteenth English Lit, 635) His idea of creating a poem for the description of man involved the topics of human life and manners. In his poem he describes man with their greater parts, their extent, their limits and their connection. (Waingrew, Eighteenth English Lit, 636) In Popes first Epistle of "An Essay of Man," he opens the poem with a description of life and describes it as "A mighty Maze!" His first stanza of the poem brings together the elements of life within nature and how there are limits in life. Alexander uses imagery to show the limits and downfall of life in his first stanza."A Mighty Maze! But not without a plan; Or wild, where weeds and flow'rs promiscuous shoot; Or Garden, tempting with forbidden fruit.Together let us beat this ample Field,…….." (Waingrew, Eighteenth English Lit, 636) In the following lines of Alexander Pope's first stanza of "An Essay of Man," he describes life as being a maze, which would symbolize the ups and downs of life, and all the obstacles that are within life. Pope refers to a Garden with forbidden...

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