The influence of Lucretius' De rerum natura on Alexander Pope's An essay on man

No Thumbnail Available
Voss, Annemarie
Hoilman, Dennis R.
Issue Date
Thesis (M.A.)
Other Identifiers

The Influence of Lucretius' De Rertun Natura and of its English translations by Thomas Creech and John Dryden on Alexander Pope's Essay on Man has not previously been adequately explored. As this thesis demonstrates, comparative analysis shows (1) that the Lucretiun poem is a model for Pope's manner of addressing the audience, for the pose of his speaker, and for his satiric and didactic style; (2) that the English translations of Creech and Dryden are sources of many verbal echoes and allusions and of a few rhymes; (3) that De Rerum Natura is the source of several controlling metaphors for the Essay on Man; (4) that similarities exist between the Lucretiun concept of order arising from disorder and Pope's concept of "discordia concors" and between the recognition of the cycle as the outer aspect of Nature in both poems; (5) that one of Pope's purposes is to refute the Epicurean religious beliefs professed by Lucretius; and (6) that a remarkable similarity exists between the ethical beliefs of Lucretius and those of Pope. The evidence suggests that De Reruzn Natura, and its translations by Creech and Dryden, should be considered major influences on Pope's An Essay on Man.