Literary Essay Sample: How Pope Uses Animal Imagery in Essay on Man

Published: 2017-09-02
Literary Essay Sample: How Pope Uses Animal Imagery in Essay on Man
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  English literature Literature Analysis
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 671 words
6 min read

How pope uses animal imagery in Essay on Man

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Pope published An Essay on Man in order to show how God used rational ways to man, in order to show him how someone should not be blamed for a mistake he did not commit. Man is unaware of Gods plans and purposes hence giving him no reason but to accept that God is right when he positions him in a situation he is at a particular time. In the Essay on Man, he relates man to the universe so that it can present the idea of harmony to him. Pope does not believe that man came to the universe, to care for it and then die. He believes that there must have been a reason and a purpose for man to exist in the universe.

Pope uses animal imagery to show that, although no man knows the purpose for his existence, he must not try to become a god, but must become a human who accepts his existence, from a creature create by a perfect creator. However, man can only determine the nature of the world he is living in and see how all thing bear, strongly connect and depend easily on each other (Pope 63). He questions if man is capable of understanding Gods purpose for him and His plans for the whole universe, since man is limited to judge only what he knows.

He also shows that man can only admit that he perceives a part and not a whole in order to claim that he understands Gods purposes and that he believes that whatever God has planned for him is true and should be considered right (Pope 60). He says that lookd thro? Or can a part contain a whole? He believes man should understand that there are greater things above him and weaker things below him, which makes him incapable of knowing how the rest of the universe is related to him. He sees man as part of nature since he depends on it for substances but still treats her unruly and roughly by destroying it. He quotes, Destroying all creatures for thy sport or gust, yet cry, if Mans unhappy, Gods unjust.

He also uses animal imagery to portray that; there should be no other animal, or any human being, trying to criticize Gods doing whether scientifically or through philosophy (Pope 85). From Natures chain whatever link you strike, Tenth or ten thousandth, break the chain alike. He believes that no man should know his fate since no one is guaranteed on what would happen if he knew his fate. Every man want to be satisfied, be happy, achieve something he is proud of, even at the expense of another mans happiness, not caring of what they might thing of their success (Pope 85).

He shows how human being are controlled by forces which results to him not being able to decide whether to think of himself as a God or man, born or to die, to act or to rest or to act like an animal, although his body lacks the ability to. He quotes that, Here with degrees of swiftness, there of forces: all in exact proportion to the state He assumes that man has conflicting parts within himself to believe that he has the abilities of both an animal and God. He figured out that man should try to be contented with his own standards and not try to live to the standards of others (Pope 123). He also suggests that man should treat nature with care and appreciate it together with everything else God created for our comforts. For me kind nature wakes her genial power, Suckles each herb and spread out every flow.


Pope, Alexander. (1733). An Essay on Man; In Epistle to a Friend (Epistle Iv). (1 ed). London: Printed for J. Wilford. Retrieved via Google books. (2015). 123

Harry, M. The rape of the text: reading and misreading Popes Essay on Man. On Google Books.

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