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Alexander Pope\'s An Essay on Man is an attempt to vindicate, as Milton had attempted to justify, the ways of God to man. Both attempt to explain God to man, but come up with different conclusions. Milton states that man can overcome God\'s design through faith and decency. In contrast, Pope remarks that man must accept what life gives him without trying to change his fate.
Milton seeks to "justify the ways of God to men" (Paradise Lost, 1.26) through example. Paradise Lost focuses on the fall of man and the consequences thereof. After the fall of man, Adam and Eve must endure their punishments, and achieve redemption. They can no longer live within the confines of Eden; but through faith and conviction they will persevere. God gives Adam and Eve free will and the use of reason. Although they choose poorly and are punished with the pains and sufferings of humanity, God allows Adam and Eve to live; though not as they were accustomed to in Paradise. They must live life as we know it; with its weaknesses, yearnings, inevitable defeats; but with the knowledge that they can overcome "To leave this Paradise, but shalt posses / A Paradise within thee, happier far" (Paradise Lost, 12.586-587).
Similar to Milton, Pope tries to
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