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After Shakespeare, Pope is the second most quoted writer in the English language, as per The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, with some of his verses having even become popular idioms in common parlance (e.g., Damning with faint praise). Pope's poetic career testifies to his indomitable spirit in the face of disadvantages, of health and of circumstance.As the poet and his family were Catholics, they fell subject to prohibitive measures which effectively reversed the prosperity of their ilk after the abdication of James II; one of which banned them from living within ten miles of London and another from attending public school or university.
The play depicts various attitudes toward prostitution, promiscuity, and premarital sex.
But it also suggests that human laws and perhaps human morality are quite arbitrary and relative.
Measure for Measure considers the need for statutes and laws to govern sexual appetites and ensure domestic tranquility.
But it also focuses on the conflict between human actions and human moral values, especially as it is manifest in the issue of seeming and being. objective standards but by what the traffic will bear. "The Unfolding of Measure for Measure." Shakespeare Survey 26 (1973): 119-28.
In the year 1709, Pope showcased his precocious metrical skill with the publication of Pastorals, his first major poems. By the time Pope was twenty-three, he had written An Essay on Criticism, released in 1711.
A kind of poetic manifesto in the vein of Horace's Ars Poetica, the essay was met with enthusiastic attention and won Pope a wider circle of prominent friends, most notably Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, who had recently started collaborating on the influential The Spectator.
The critic John Dennis, having located an ironic and veiled portrait of himself, was outraged by what he considered the impudence of the younger author.
Dennis hated Pope for the rest of his life, and, save for a temporary reconciliation, dedicated his efforts to insulting him in print, to which Pope retaliated in kind, making him the butt of much satire.
In his career as a satirist, Pope made his share of enemies as the critics, politicians, and certain other prominent figures felt the sting of his sharpwitted satires.
Some were so virulent, that Pope even carried pistols at one point while walking his dog. He toyed with the idea of writing a patriotic epic called Brutus but ultimately decided against it, and only the opening lines survive.