Comparison (J. Swift & A. Pope)

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The attitudes portrayed in Alexander Pope's An Essay on Man and Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" towards mankind is strikingly similar. Both acknowledge the view that man has dominion over the earth, as created and instituted by God. However, the difference is seen in their approaches to this subject. Pope primarily focuses on man's pride and place in society, whereas Swift discusses how man deals with certain situations reasonably or unreasonably. Pope and Swift present situations that man has to face in conjunction with illogical conclusions. Besides exhibiting illogical conclusions, they also show the selfish, prideful, rebellious, jealous, and the ungrateful characteristics of man.

The narrator in Swift's, "A Modest Proposal" appears to be a logical, educated person who has been studying the subject of impoverished citizens, primarily women and children, for years. He does this by informing the reader of his working relationship with scholars, as well as thought out and gathered calculations, followed by examples of children having no hope for the future. He transitions into illustrating his proposal from giving his findings by stating, "I have too long digressed, and therefore shall I return to my subject" (Swift 457). The narrator indicates his proposal, which appears to be illogical to the reader. He does this so that the reader will not agree with the solution to overpopulation by eating babies, but for them to realize the situation they are in and come up with a more rational solution.

Alexander Pope addresses in "An Essay On Man" the issue of the pride and man and man's emphasis on knowledge. He indicates that in our attempt to gain more knowledge and wisdom that we press beyond the limits, and that some things mankind is not able to know. Pope suggest to the reader to submit to the laws of nature, and do not think or act beyond mankind. He has the concept that there is a divine order and grand scheme of things and to rest in the...
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