Thesis: If humans retain hope they will achieve faith that enables them to understand the universe is ordered and God is benevolent.
Alexander PopeÆs Essay on Man is a poem written using heroic couplets and containing PopeÆs philosophy on the nature of God, the universe, and humanÆs position in relation to both. Pope argues in Essay on Man that the universe seems full of chaos to humans but that it is in fact ordered and controlled by a benevolent God. However, he also argues that manÆs limited capacity to understand this makes it appear otherwise. However, Pope argues that if humans retain hope they will achieve faith that enables them to understand the universe is ordered and God is benevolent.
PopeÆs Essay on Man is a poem that is structured in four sections, each one discussing a different aspect or aspects of human existence and God and the universe. In the first section Pope attempts to illustrate the position of human beings in relation to the universe. He posits the notion that humans are somewhere below capacity in comparison with angels, but that they have more capacity than the beasts of the Earth. Despite these distinctions in the hierarchy of the universe, God, angels, humans and beast are united in a divine whole, ôNothing is foreign; parts relate to whole; / One all-extending, all-preserving, soul / Connects each being, greatest with the leastö (Pope 1734).
The second section of Essay on Man discusses the nature of human beings as individuals. Pope views human beings are being limited in their capacity to understand the divine order of the universe and the true nature of God. Human beings are generally limited in moral and intellectual capacity, often seeking riches, fame or power. Human beings are generally unable to appreciate their limited or insignificant role in the universe and covet such things in vain. In other words, human beings are not the center of the universe