“What is is right.” proclaims Alexander Pope in his Essay on Man. Writing an analysis essay on this great work of poetry requires some analytical skill. The poem expresses philosophical viewpoints in couplets and epistles. It is not surprising that a work of literature such as Essay on Man intimidates most students. Although the themes and ideals in the poetry are quite complex, the rules of literature analysis are not!
You can easily analyze any work of literature with the right skills and tools. Here are some guidelines and tips to help you write an analysis of “Essay on Man”:
Alexander Pope says, “What is is right.” This statement or philosophical point of view can be analyzed in detail. Take a historical view of all the philosophers who have supported this. How does this work as an argument? What leads the writer to believe this? How does it play out in the real world? Is this a logical statement? Does it contain a fallacy? What does this argument appeal to: ethos, logos, or pathos?
The statement, “the proper study of mankind is man” is widely quoted in literature and otherwise. How do you see the truth and/or reality of this statement?
One of the themes that Pope has consistently maintained is that of partial knowledge. He maintains that man can only know things in parts, and God only can see the whole. How does he come to this conclusion? What is the philosophical background of the belief? Research and write about idealism and the identity of thinking and being.
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