AD's English Literature : ‘He hangs between’ – Pope’s Summary Opinion of Man: Essay on Man

Sunday, February 10, 2013

‘He hangs between’ – Pope’s Summary Opinion of Man: Essay on Man

"With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic’s pride,"

These lines belongs Pope continues to describe Man's contradictory nature through a sense of antithetical statements. ‘He hangs between’ – is pope’s summary opinion of man. Man would fain display himself as a skeptic, a pessimistic philosopher who believes that nothing can be known and yet his own knowledge of things militates against this. He would also derived to be a ‘stoic, a philosopher who believes that one must achieve a state of control and desire free existence indifferent to pain and pleasure, invariably eludes him.

The spirit may be willing, but the flesh proves weak and he succumbs to the temptation of the body. Even intellectually he is perpetually in a state of conflict, caught on the Horus of a dilemma as to whether activity is better than passivity, lab our better than slots he remains a creature perplexed in the extreme’ he ultimately begins to harbor doubts as to whether the epicurean chose of the body, The hedonistic enjoyment of the would though all our sensory faculties would be better. His also caught between the two extremes of considering himself a god and a beast. 


Even when he is born, the paradoxical fate of man is such, that this birth would invariably lead to its opposite, death. The womb and the tomb are closely related. Man is known as a reasoning animal but his reasoning is fraught with such errors as to render it infracted (faithless). Even the may diligent and perseverance (dedicated) process of human analysis might lead to an erroneous conclusion further, the conflict between the reasoning power and the passions make it impossible for man to find the right path of life he is as one who is at once responsible for deceiving himself – by ‘winking at his weaknesses in the Shakespearean sense of the term – and of being undeceived by himself again when he learns from experience that concealment from the self lends to disaster. This paradoxical creature is always torn between the opposites of god liners and  beastliness, and his ascent towards the first is countered by his invariable descent towards the later. 
Thus though a Kaleidoscopic sequence of antithetical images, Pope presents ‘Man’ as a divided being. Even if this poem be not admitted into the realms of philosophy, one must grant that the series of images certainly elevate to enter the portals (doors) of potent poetry. The lines also reveal a deep and penetrating observation of human psychology, the inherent contradictions which at one trap and enable man. The sheer poetic rhythm and the music of musification the philosophy.

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An English Teacher;    M. A.(English) , D. Ed., B. Ed., UGC- NET Qualified

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