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1Presented by Danielle, Matt, Greg, and Heather A Satyr Against Reason and Mankind John Wilmot, Second Earl of RochesterPresented by Danielle, Matt, Greg, and Heather
2THESISIn “A Satyr against Reason and Mankind,” Rochester paints mankind as a captive being, bound within his bestial appetites and worldly passions, and thus reinforces the idea that man differs more from his imagined self image than from beasts.
4WHO DESERVES THE CREDIT FOR SUCH AN INTELLECTUAL MASTERPIECE? “One obstacle to the appreciation of the poem has been the question of its originality: here the opinion ranges from the verdict that everything is borrowed to the satire is quite original.”Thomas FujimuraMichel de MontaigneJohn WilmotNicolas Boileau-DespréauxThomas Hobbes
5Credit?While credit must be given to John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester for the creation of his masterpiece, it is clear that many writers and philosophers were expressing similar ideas by similar methodologies. In other words, the conversation was not an isolated one. The issues of identity and free will were prevalent at this time.
6Thomas HobbesHobbes theorized as to what men would be like without government, a condition he called “the state of nature.”“In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain, and consequently no culture of the earth, no navigation nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea, no commodious building, no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force, no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time, no arts, no letters, no society, and, which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Thomas Hobbes
7FREEDOM OF CHOICE “Were I (who to my cost already am One of those strange prodigious creatures, man)A spirit free to choose…” (Lines 1-3)
8IMAGERY Lust of power to which he’s such a slave (145) [Men] devise / False freedoms [for themselves] (177)Over their fellow slaves to tyrannize (178)
9TRANSITIVE VERB CONSTRUCTS “Old age and experience[…] / Lead him to death and make him understand” (25-26)“Pride drew him in” (31)“This supernatural gift, that makes a mite Think he's an image of the infinite” (76-77)
10Man and Beast Appetites of Man “My reason is a friend, yours is a cheat,/ Hunger calls out, my reason bids me eat;/ Perversely, yours your appetites does mock:/ They ask for food, that answers, “what’s a clock?”/ This plain distinction, Sir, your doubt secures,/ ‘Tis not true reason I despise, but yours.” ( )
11Man and Beast Appetites of Man “Is there a churchman who on God relies,/ Whose life his faith and doctrine justifies?/ Not one blown up with vain prelatic pride,/ Who for reproof of sins does man deride;/ Whose envious heart makes preaching a pretense,/ With his obstreperous saucy eloquence,/ To chide at kings, and rail at men of sense;/ Who from his pulpit vents more peevish lies,/ More bitter railings, scandals, calumnies,/ Than at a gossiping are thrown about…They act adultery with their own wives;/ And ere a score of years completed be,/ Can from a loft pulpit proudly see/ Half a large parish their own progeny. “ ( )
12Man and Beast Appetites of man “Who, preaching peace, does practice continence;/ Whose pious life’s a proof he does believe/ Mysterious truths, which no man can conceive;/ If upon earth there dwell such God-like men,/ I’ll recant my paradox to them” ( )
13Man and Beast Passions of Man “Pride drew him in (as cheats their bubbles catch)/ And made him venture to be made a wretch./ His wisdom did his happiness destroy/ Aiming to know that world he should enjoy;/ And wit was his vain frivolous pretence/ of pleasing others at his own expense.” (31-36)
14Man and Beast Man has reason Reason separates man from beast If therefore Jowler finds and kills his hares/ Better than the Meres supplies committee chairs,/ Though one’s a statesman, th’other but a hound,/ Jowler in justice would be wiser found ( )Man has reasonReason separates man from beastWithout reason, man = beastLook to the bottom of his vast design,/ Wherein man’s wisdom, power, and glory join;/ The good he acts, the ill he does endure,/ ‘Tis all from fear to make himself secure./ Merely for safety after flame we thirst,/ For all men would be cowards if they durst. ( )
15MAN > BEAST “[F]rom himself [God] did the image take, And this fair frame in reason dressedTo dignify his nature above beast” (63-65)
16FREED BY WAY OF REASON? “Reason, by whose aspiring influence We take a flight beyond material sense;Dive into mysteries, then soaring pierceThe flaming limits of the universe” (66-69)
17Results of Reason“Which is the basest creature, man or beast? Birds feed on birds, beasts on each other prey, But savage man alone does man betray. Pressed by necessity, they kill for food; Man undoes man to do himself no good.” ( )One of the result of reason is to kill each other, undoing each other’s affairs.Men could and should work together, but because of fear they don’t. For example, a man fears his neighbor will take his food, so he kills his neighbor so he can’t take his food. This actually ends up doing mankind in general no good.
18Pride “This supernatural gift, that makes a mite Think he’s the image of the infinite,Comparing his short life, void of all rest,To the eternal and the ever blest[.]” (76-79)Because of reason men become proud and think of themselves as better than the beasts and other natural creations of the world.
19ConclusionIn “A Satyr against Reason and Mankind,” Rochester paints mankind as a captive being, bound within his bestial appetites and worldly passions, and thus reinforces the idea that man differs more from his imagined self image than from beasts. “Man differs more from man, than man from beast.” (225)