Comparison of Authors’ Understanding of the World and the Universe in Essay On Man by Alexander Pope and Candide by Voltaire

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

In candide, by Voltaire and in the “Essay On Man” by Alexander Pope, both authors have similar ideas, however they also have critical differences. In these pieces of literature the authors Voltaire and Pope make strong yet different arguments about the belifes of the worlds. Voltaire’s Candide and Alexander Pope’s An “Essay on Man” are works of literature that demonstrate reason on how the universe works.

In Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Man” deals with human beings and the main thought that everything happens with a reason. In addition, this theme is imitadtied in Candide. Candide is the story of a very optimitstic man who beleieves that whatever happens is for the best. Throughout the stories Alexander Pope and Voltaire indentifiy human nature differently in their work, but both of them show how mankind lives with it.

To begin, Alexander Pope’s Essay on Man consists of four epistles, which in other words are formal letters directed to a specific person. In pope’s first epistle it is clear to see the views of man’s relation to the whole world, and how humans are placed above animals and plants in this hierarchy. Alexander Pope also shows how human beings have a hard time finding their purpose in life, but that is something us as humans need to accept. In other words throhout his peice he means, there are many things we cant and do not know, and so we must not attempt to go beyond what humans are capable of.

Throughout the poem it is clear to see Pope believed human beings must accept that their existence is the result of a perfect creator who created everything as perfectly as it can possibly be. Pope’s first epistle demonsrtates his clear idea that everything in life is predetermined and there is no way to go about a situtation you may have wished to avoid. He sends the message that everything happens for the best, and man should not dare to question the fate of the world. In addtion, in the poem espistole one it is clear to see that he believes everything that exists plays a role in God’s plan of life. God thus has a certain intention for every thing he has created. Since god has an intention for everything that he has created Pope believes that everything is destined to happen. Thus, In ‘An Essay on Man’ Pope is trying to make clear the relationship of humanity to the universe.

In addition, in Candide, he explains that God is not in charge of our life, we are in charge of ourselves. Candide comes from the influence of Pope and he uses the actions and issues of many characters including himself to portray his focuses. Pangloss and his student Candide believe that whatever happened throughout the novel was for the best. In other words, the feeling of any evil in the world would have to be a sign that God is not entirely good. In addition Voltaire uses satire to present his ideas because he does not accept that a perfect God has to exist, so he mocks the idea througout the novel. The optimists, Pangloss and Candide, suffer and witness a plethora of events that are truamitc. These horrors do not do any good, but they point out the foolishness, and cruelty of humanity and show that a perfect world may not really exsit. Thus, this optimistic attitude is the main target of Voltaire’s satire. This story has a very optimistic view, meaning it has a perspective that everything is as it should be. In other words, all things are good in the best possible of all worlds.

With that being said, although these two works of literature present similar ideas when close reading and comparing them it all comes down to how humans think the world works. For example, Alexander Pope presents a piece that suggests everything in the universe happens for a reason, whereas, Volitaire believes we are in control. In addition, It could be argued to Pope that if God creates a perfect world, then why is there evil in the world? In Contrast to that belief, Voltaire claims that there is no set path, reasons have to come from humans. Pope’s message is that if things are relatively evil, we should not attempt to mess with the cards were dealt with because it has reaso, and it was what was supposed to happen. However, in Voltaire’s eyes, this is false because he feels he needs to fight for things to make what matters to him, come to him. Overall both authors have the same ideas, but they have different viewpoints on life. The authors incorporate different literary devices in the novel, and poem in order to evoke emotion from the reader.

In conclusion, when taking a close read at the novel candide, by Voltaire and in the “Essay On Man” by Alexander Pope, both authors have similar ideas but critical stand points. Nevertheless, By simply focusing on those aspects of Pope’s aside from ideas on perfection the world could possibly come to a happy medium. Combining views with the more negative views of voltaire, the Mean can be reached. Overall philosophies can help to further human knowledge and help understand the world, and these philopshers took.


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