Alexander Pope and Christianity

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The Influence of Christianity in Essay on Man
Alexander Pope is an eighteenth century writer who spent most of his life suffering. He had a rare form of tuberculosis which left him in constant pain. As a result of this disease, he never grew very tall. He was only about four and a half feet tall and he also experienced migraines (Greenblatt 2714). Despite all of Pope’s impediments, he managed to write Essay on Man which portrays an extremely optimistic outlook on life. Although Pope says that he “avoids all specifically Christian doctrines,” it is doubtful that he would have this same optimistic outlook without his Christian upbringing (2714). Even though Pope’s Essay on Man is universal, applying to Christian and non-Christian alike, it is apparent that Essay on Man is largely influenced by Christianity.

The most well known line from Essay on Man is “Whatever IS, is RIGHT” (2720.1.294). This conveys the overall main message of the piece of writing. Also, it focuses on that an Almighty Being such as God has created everything and everyone with a plan. Man must trust God’s plan because whatever is God’s plan for you is how your life is supposed to be and you cannot change that plan. Pope’s purpose in an Essay on Man is to “vindicate the way of God to man” (2714). In other words, he is justifying why the world is how it is. Pope recognizes that there is apparent evil. He argues that there is a reason for all of the evil things even if we do not see the reason at the current moment. Many passages in Epistle 1 of Essay on Man seem to be rooted in Christian belief. Line six states, “A might maze! But not without a plan” (2714.1.6). It has been said many times before that everything happens for a reason and that is what Pope is trying to express in this exact line. God has a plan for everything and everyone on this Earth, whether it is apparent to them or not. The Bible supports this thought in passage 3:1-8 from Ecclesiastes. “To...
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