Post from Brooke Bartleson

Over all, I enjoyed Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Criticism”. Not particularly because
of Pope’s message about his neo classical ideals about the effects of critics and
bad criticism (although somewhat interesting, I personally found the over all topic
rather dry), nor because of his allusions to other historically significant literary
works and mythological references that I am familiar with. The main reason I
enjoyed Pope’s “essay” is because I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it is
not an essay in the tradition sense (prose with a block format) but actually a long,
well written poem. The poem is written in heroic couplets (a rhyming scheme
using a series of rhymes written in iambic pentameter), which is very impressive.
As someone who thoroughly enjoys expressing myself through poetry, I’ve
personally come to see rhyme schemes as restrictions that make it difficult to put
my thoughts into words. Rhyme schemes tend to limit the vocabulary and syntax
of what is trying to be said. However, by using rhyming couplets, Pope not only
made his poem flow prettily, but also made certain lines significantly easier to
remember. It’s much easier to recall lines that rhyme as opposed to random
sentences in a traditional essay. His rhyming couplets make sense when quoted
independently from his poem, and contribute to the overall piece as well. Pope
also does not use clichéd rhyme schemes in his poem, and pushes beyond what is
considered easy. He even address later on in his poem that true poets are made,
not born, and true ease in writing does not come without conscious effort. He
criticizes easy rhyme schemes in lines 347-353 and cleverly labels them as boring
to the reader. Being able to employ such a consistent rhyme scheme and still
convey his meaning clearly and sensibly is truly quite the accomplishment.


One thought on “Post from Brooke Bartleson

  1. I would definitely afree with you on this Pope poem. You would expect there to be a better theme in the overall poem but the individual messages all throughout. I picked up on the idea of tastes in individuality that he hints at and how it is necessary for people to have their own judgements, rather “tastes”. His touch on conscious effort and developing who we are through practice makes this poem light up to me. I really like his allusions and historical references but I developed them into my own themes.

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