The fact that Pope used this form for the poem reflects his desire to produce a respectable and idealistic work.
Although the poem uses this traditional form, its beauty and power comes from Pope's ability to produce lines that are both unique and packed with a tremendous amount of meaning.
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The third epistle deals with how the individual interacts with society.
Pope argues that, in addition to the insight that it can offer regarding a person's relationship with himself, the cosmos offers insight into how individuals can find harmony with society and the natural world.To understand the poem and the impulse behind it, it's important to look at the ideas that were popular when Pope was writing.Pope lived from 1688 to 1744 and was considered one of the most definitive and influential voices of the first half of the 18th century.Pope explains that human beings cannot come to fully understand their purpose in life by using only their mental faculties.Although humanity is at the top of the fixed hierarchy of the natural world, there are many things we cannot know, and so we must not attempt to become godlike.When Pope began the poem, he originally intended to make it much longer than the final version became, which further demonstrates just how idealistic he was.The poem was dedicated to Lord Bolingbroke, a political figure with whom Pope had many philosophical conversations and who likely helped Pope come to believe in many of the ideas he presents in An Essay on Man.In the poem, Pope attempts to 'vindicate' God's ways to man, a task that clearly echoes John Milton's famous claim in the epic poem Paradise Lost, which was first published in 1667 and told the story of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.However, unlike Milton's Paradise Lost, An Essay on Man is not specifically Christian and instead attempts to identify an ethical system that applies to humanity in a general sense.Rather, human beings must accept that their existence is the result of a perfect creator who created everything as perfectly as it can possibly be.The second epistle uses the harmony described between humanity and the cosmos in the previous epistle to illustrate how humans can achieve harmony within themselves.