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ognesperanza eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Second Epistle was one of a series of four epistles between 1732 and 1734.

The first section contains one of my favourite quotes,

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is man.

This section encourages mankind to look to itself for its own strength, failings, and frailties rather than looking to God for some all encompassing answer.  

The next section, Lines 53-92, purports the idea that the self love of man is stronger than reason but that the intention of these two competing drives is the same.  

Lines 93-202 cover 'the passions' of man and their purpose, the ways in which they direct the lives of men, and how they help in defining the nature and virtue of men. Pope also sets out ruling passions and the roles they play in the lives of men.  

The combination of good and evil, virtue and vice, are reflected in lines 203-230. Here, Pope highlights the fact that while they are very different, they can cross paths.  He also says that Vice is easily drawn to. 

231-294--Despite his first statement he acknowledges that God created man, and thusly man's flaws and virtues have been created in a manner which suited God.  While we cannot see the logic, all men, in all parts of the world, in all parts of society are guided by their passions, virtues, and flaws.  

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