The Animal in Pope’s Essay on Man
Keywords:Alexander Pope, Jacques Derrida, Animal Studies, 18th Century, Religion
Why are there so many animals referenced in Alexander Pope’s poem Essay on Man? Traditionally, animals were separated from man throughout history. Namely, the animal was denied logos and access to the polis. However, this article claims that neither of these traditions hold true throughout Pope’s work. Rather, man is placed on a level on par with the animal in order to “vindicate the ways of God to man,” Pope’s explicit purpose of the poem. The article concludes that the agnostic figure of the animal, oddly, becomes the “guarantor” of God’s ways in the eyes of man through its comparison with man.
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