Alexander Pope Questions and Answers

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What are the poetic achievements of Alexander Pope?

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Pope extended and perfected the poetic technique of his great predecessor John Dryden. Ever since the Restoration in 1660, English poetry had taken a direction in which there was an increasing attempt to re-create the ideals and the aesthetic orientation of the Greek and Roman poets of antiquity. The heroic couplet—rhymed iambic pentameter—became standard. Elegance, grace, and the classical ideals of balance and emotional restraint were present in Dryden's work, as well as the use of satire as the most important and characteristic genre. Pope's achievement was to create not so much what was new or original as the best poetry that conformed to this modern re-creation of the poetic achievements of antiquity—especially of the period when Emperor Augustus was in power (27 BC–AD 14). Pope's era is thus often called the Augustan age of English poetry.

Pope's The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad are among the most important examples of satire in English poetry. But Pope excelled as well in...

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