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Enlightenment Era

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nlightenment Era - Alexander Pope

The Enlightenment Era arose about the 1600's. This is where Alexander Pope comes into play. "Pope lived when repressive legislation against Catholics restricted his financial, educational, professional, and residential possibilities. He could not attend a university or hold public employment; (Lawall 489)" Though the circumstances of living, Alexander Pope was still home schooled. Alexander as a writer challenged ideas during this time and grasps many people's attention.

His writing, An Essay on Man, almost sounds contradicting. There are certain times in the writing that he is questioning God and certain times questioning man's actions. The Enlightenment Era played a role in this literature and demand ideas of logic and reason. "Pope set out to consider, in successive epistles, humanity in relation to the universe, to itself, to society, and to happiness: (Lawall 490)" "At its best, An Essay on Man transforms philosophy into emotional experience. It generates drama out of shifting, intersecting perspectives: (Lawall 291)" Emotions are distrusted and values are determined by the mind of the church. Challenging what the church tells you of your values and how things are and trying to tell them what you actually believe brings chaos to a society of tradition. In certain parts of Alexander's writing man is created but yet not equal to all. There is a prospect of man being out of place in the order they were created. The created man questions the greatness of the higher being. Man can only know what they see but God almighty sees everyone for who they are. For man to be human you can only understand what you see but what you see isn't always the truth. Truth is relative. What your heart tells you and your state of mind is not trusted. That is why God judges man and man does not judge another man. Your emotions can plays tricks on you and this is the temptation that is placed to test man's behaviors for judgment.

"Pope draws on a number of intellectual traditions to define the human condition in both cosmic and social terms. The breadth of his reference--to Catholic and Protestant theology, to Platonic and Stoic philosophy, to his period's notions of plenitude and natural order--itself reinforces the underlying assumption of universal, unchanging human nature (Lawall 490)." Man learns from experiences, which give knowledge



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