How is the subject of science treated in The Dunciad? How would Pope's thinking be appiled to today's society?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You might like to consider Book IV of this tremendous mock epic, and the way that dullness is shown to be crowned monarch of England and as a result, branches of intellectual thought are variously chained, gagged and tied up as part of this eradication of sense from the shores of England. Consider the way in which, as Dullness proceeds to claim her throne, an allegorical description of the throne room clearly supports the way in which sense has been banished. We see that science is positioned beneath the foot-stool of the new monarch, chained. Logic is tied up tightly and gagged so that it cannot speak. Wit has been banished and rhetoric lies prostrate and naked on the floor tied by sophism. Science is therefore shown to be yet another victim of dullness and the capacity of man to ignore scientific truth and use their intelligence.

It is always an interesting question to ask ourselves what an author like Pope would have had to say about science in today's world. I personally think he would applaud and salute the tremendous advances that we have achieved. What he would perhaps question is our lack of ability to use our great scientific knowledge to stamp our persistent and pervasive evils in the world such as poverty and disease, and the way that scientific advances are so closely tied up with wealth and patents. I think he would have been very critical of pharmoceutical companies, for example.

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The Dunciad

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