An Essay on Man is a poem published by Alexander Pope in 1733–1734. It is an effort to rationalize or rather "vindicate the ways of God to man" , a variation of John Milton's claim in the opening lines of Paradise Lost, that he will "justify the ways of God to men". It is concerned with the natural order God has decreed for man. Because man cannot know God's purposes, he cannot complain about his position in the Great Chain of Being and must accept that "Whatever IS, is RIGHT", a theme that was satirized by Voltaire in Candide (1759). More than any other work, it popularized optimistic philosophy throughout England and the rest of Europe.

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