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Dover Beach Analysis



Author: Poetry of Matthew Arnold Type: Poetry Views: 44430







The sea is calm to-night.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits;--on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!

Only, from the long line of spray

Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,

At their return, up the high strand,

Begin, and cease, and then again begin,

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring

The eternal note of sadness in.



Sophocles long ago

Heard it on the {AE}gean, and it brought

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow

Of human misery; we

Find also in the sound a thought,

Hearing it by this distant northern sea.



The Sea of Faith

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.

But now I only hear

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,

Retreating, to the breath

Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear

And naked shingles of the world.



Ah, love, let us be true

To one another! for the world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

you all aren't making any sense!!! I agree with the guy who said this is all shit... all we want is a 1 or 2 sentence summary that tells us what it's about. We don't want to sort shit that is just as complicated as the poem!!! put something that's short and summarizes it and don't post shit! thanks!

| Posted on 2013-11-11 | by a guest


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fine explanation of poem has been portrayed here but still pessimism needs to be more elaborated.

| Posted on 2013-07-27 | by a guest


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can someone tell me 3 political criticism about \"Dover Beach?\"

| Posted on 2013-04-16 | by a guest


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this poem represnts arnolds state of mind as being something so merely devoted to religion and the beliefs that is brought by past dedication. the first stanza begins when arnold talks about the beauty of the scenery, he is on his honeymoon and shares his love for the world, for the countries are represented as beauty. the second stanze construes the same matter until the third line when there is a sudden change of thought as affection of resentment is evident. pebbles also determine human inferiority they are a metaphorem and the subject they bring to the destruction of the world and all that has been brought to nature and by, pebbles are a sign of false and pretentious objects which dont realize their actions for their movement is so sudden and differs. the tremulous note of sadness in, is something so unwanted by many but can not be stopped. sophocles was an ancient greek tragedian and so the third verse brings in a slight ramification of dependance and calls out as significant for even someone so dedicated to religion sought the destruction of science. the sea of faith what seemed as though destiny could never be defeated, was once at place and itself without interference from the modern age of moral conduct to science and discovery, and yet it now suffers from the ongoing behaviour humans portray through their lack of understanding by vile nature to religion and contempt beliefs.
the last stanza brings the readers back to being grounded, as himself aswell, for he states that love is the only thing worth living for, otherwise nothing is to be seeked for the land of dreams and the beautiful and new world is neither any of that, which proclaims the world to being not as sacrosanct as people are obliged to believe so, the melancholy exists as his predilection to religion stays in tact, his last couplet is merely a vile perception of mankind for he feels they are to feel remorse and culpable as they are responsible for war.

| Posted on 2012-05-13 | by a guest


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i want to graduate but this poem is holding me up!!
1.consider the historical period of victorian England, how might the phrase \"igno0rant armies\" and \"darkling plain\" in the poem\"doverBeach\" relate to the advance of Science and the decline of Religion?
2. explain how the poems\"Recessional\" and \"tThe Wind atWindsor\"reflect differetn views on teh responsibilities and dangers that come with Empire.
3. nmaintaining the Empire is deadly serious busines., and soldiers gladly die to do so.
now, using that as your thesis sentec, support your argument with evidence from the poem\"The WIdow at Windsor\".

| Posted on 2012-05-11 | by a guest


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\'Dover Beach\' gives expression to Arnold\'s religious attitude in an age of doubt.
Being distressed by the , disintegration, complexity and melancholy of his times, Arnold long for primitive faith, wholeness, simplicity and happiness.
Arnold\'s poetry is plain and prosaic, as he tries to achieve a true and adequate statement, devoid of all nonessential decoration.

| Posted on 2012-02-21 | by a guest


.: :.

\'Dover Beach\' gives expression to Arnold\'s religious attitude in an age of doubt.
Being distressed by the , disintegration, complexity and melancholy of his times, Arnold long for primitive faith, wholeness, simplicity and happiness.
Arnold\'s poetry is plain and prosaic, as he tries to achieve a true and adequate statement, devoid of all nonessential decoration.

| Posted on 2012-02-21 | by a guest


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Please you guys. Give the. Exact meaning of it some of us are. Getting tired of crap shit like those.soo don,t put something in it that doenst include shit

| Posted on 2012-02-06 | by a guest


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hey can like tell the main point of this poem and wat does it mean exactly?

| Posted on 2011-10-05 | by a guest


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Much has been said on the author\'s pessimism about modern life. One line offers genuine, intimate hope: \'Ah, love, let us be true, To one another!\'

| Posted on 2011-08-28 | by a guest


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\'Dover Beach\' is a dramatic monologue with the lover as the speaker and the ladylove as the silent interlocutor. The poem aesthetisizes the apprehension of a sensitive spiritualist at the erosion of faith from the Victorian life which had become crassly materialistic. It is also an elegy ,for the speaker-poet mourns for the recession of faith in Christianity. According to the poet, life without faith is barbaric. If civilization becomes corrupted, war can not be far behind.

| Posted on 2011-08-10 | by a guest


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\'Dover Beach\' is a dramatic monologue with the lover as the speaker and the ladylove as the silent interlocutor. The poem aesthetisizes the apprehension of a sensitive spiritualist at the erosion of faith from the Victorian life which had become crassly materialistic. It is also an elegy ,for the speaker-poet mourns for the recession of faith in Christianity. According to the poet, life without faith is barbaric. If civilization becomes corrupted, war can not be far behind.

| Posted on 2011-08-10 | by a guest


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matthew arnold had a strong sense of duty and a social reformer for him poetry had to be serious and didactic
(dover beach)

| Posted on 2011-06-09 | by a guest


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what is the main issue tat makes him melancholic in ths poem???

| Posted on 2011-03-23 | by a guest


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| Posted on 2011-03-23 | by a guest


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Hello Ladies and Gents,
How does the poem \"Dover Beach\" illustrate the poets pessimistoc view of life in the Victorian age?

| Posted on 2011-03-14 | by a guest


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Hey.!Can anyone please suggest a very very authentic picturization of the theme. need to get my graduation. exam is on 17 march 2011.please help.

| Posted on 2011-03-12 | by a guest


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u wanna know abt d writers state of mnd he was on his honeymoon thts why he messed up d whole poem get it!

| Posted on 2011-02-27 | by a guest


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tis poem is an eligy to the world whch has gone science maniac...:p

| Posted on 2011-02-04 | by a guest


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hey guys ,
i wanna a short meaningful / helpful biography of Matthew , about his beliefs and his style ..
my final is on 12-1-2011 GAH

| Posted on 2011-01-05 | by a guest


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Matthew Arnold (24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold, the famed headmaster of Rugby School, and brother to both Tom Arnold, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterized as a sage writer, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues. Being a sage writer, his poem Dover beach also talks about a social issue that is the fading of religion and theism due to growth of science and technology, followed by atheism, though he expresses his view metaphorically with the use of pathetic fallacy, that is with making nature the background of the poem.
The poem is a dramatic monologue where the speaker is the poet, listener is the wife and we – the readers are the audience. The theme of the poem is of conflict between religion and science. The poem is set in Dover beach, dover is a town in southern england that connects the english channel on southern to north sea on northern.
The poem starts with description of the nature, “The sea is calm...” he uses sea to symbolize science and the cliff to symbolize religion. “moon lies fair upon the strait” shows the reflection or continuous shine of the science and “cliffs of England stand glimmering and vast” shows the blinking of light that is the faith in religion that is sometimes strong and sometimes weak. he also calls his wife to view the nature from the window, “come to the window, ...”
In the second stanza he starts with the “moon blanched land” that is the land that seems white due to the reflection of the moon and the sea. “grating roar of pebbles...” portraits the clashing and disturbing sound of the pebbles that is the violence. The last two lines express the slow rhythm of the conflict that cause sadness.
He uses allusion “Sophocles long ago....”in the starting of the poem by refereeing to his story that said that atheism would cause misery. “we find also in the sound....” then the poet expresses his the feelings he understands from the sound of the sea, that is the same thought as Sophocles had, this creates a relation between the eras.
In the beginning of the 4th stanza the poet uses the “sea of faith” to express the faith in religion that once people had, the whole earth believed in god, “lay like folds.” but then he speaks about the present era where the religionis withdrawing itself from the world creating an effect of sorrow, “its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” he ends the stanza with grief caused by confusin that is left after the conflicts “naked shinges of...”
He starts the 5th stanza by calling for his love and he talks about the land as a land of dreams, that is beautiful and new, “land of dreams, so various....”. then he talks about the “darkling land” that has no love, light. Etc, and that is dangerous due to confusion, struggle of either support religion or not and where there is conflict. He ends the poem and the stanza with an allusion “ignorant armies clash by night” referring to the Greek battle.
The poem possesses a structure of 5 stanzas that have a mixture of long and lines but the number of lines aren’t fixed, this shows confusion in the mind of the poet. The poem doesn’t have a rhyme schem, its a free verse that creates an effect of conflict n confusion. The tone of the poem is lamentic, melancholic, pessimist and of sorrow, hopelessness, etc.
The poem has old English “hath” and the diction of the poem is very descriptive and also gothic “darkling land”, etc.the poem uses metaphors like “sea of faith”, “moon blanched land” “turbid ebb and flow” “round earths shore” etc. The poem uses allusionin reference with Sophocles and greek battle.the poem has anaphora mainly in the last stanza. the poem uses enjambment in the 1st 4 lnes of the 1st stanza and 3rd to 5th lines in 2nd stanza. the poet uses caesura several times in the poem for emphasis.
the entire poem �Dover Beach� is a symbolization of the author�s pessimistic
feelings towards the way of the world and overall, human suffering. Arnold states that this decision between old and new is causing the ideologies to conflict and disagree and resulting in the of human faith.

| Posted on 2010-10-15 | by a guest


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We can see that the use of symbolism is obtained through The Sea of Faith, and how it acts as a girdle, something which is wrapped around someone, the sea being wrapped around the earth, protecting it from any danger, however now as faith is lost, it is withdrawing back and unwillingly also and this is given by the roar. Animals will roar in times of showing dominance and roaring is mainly associated with lions. Neither science or religion is backing down in this fight and so both \"ignorant armies clash by night\". Night, being dark and mysterious, when the moon is out, which aids the sea help destroy the land, ie science, so must fighting occurs during the night. I am unsure of the rest of the meanings of night, however I believe it to be a period where no one is able to see anything, where things are covered and not revealed. During the day, if revealed, people will understand however being night, people simply blindly follow those who think they are right.
I am doing IGCSE myself at the moment, would appreciate any feedback!

| Posted on 2010-09-23 | by a guest


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hey dudes and dudettes can someone like explore this guys state of mind in the poem.pls reply asap thnx

| Posted on 2010-09-21 | by a guest


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Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach explores the concepts of modernism as he predicts a ‘new way of thinking’. His writing style is conventionally romantic with its use of free flowing verse and reference to nature however he describes these concepts avoiding the use of imagination as the subject instead placing it in a real, tangible surrounding: “The sea is calm to-night. The tide is full, the moon lies fair upon the straits”. Arnold refers to the faith of society and how it has faded, with “its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” , due to new outlooks of life brought along by the concept of experimentation, promoted by modernism. Contextually Arnold’s period of writing existed before the beginning of modernism and so acted as a foundation for the following movement. The way in which Dover Beach has been composed leaves the reader with a suspicious feeling as if something is still lingering, a feeling that there is a deeper message showing the reader that there is something to come. He refers to the period in which Sophocles created the movement of tragedy stating, “ Sophocles long ago heard it on the Agaean” using the pronoun ‘it’ to avoid any real description, which suggests a lack of certainty about what he is about to undergo. This confusion of the new modern world is represented through the persona standing on “the cliffs of England” staring out upon the glimmering bay on to the lights of France, awaiting the arrival of philosophies from continental Europe . The poet discusses the confusion endured by man whilst experiencing this movement, lost between the concepts of morality against a new, modern, rational way of thinking: “Swept with confused alarm of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night”. Arnold states that this decision between old and new is causing the ideologies to conflict and disagree and resulting in the “withdrawing roar” of human faith.

| Posted on 2010-08-28 | by a guest


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you guys can have my GCSE poetry coursework after the exam i wrote 4 a4 pages on this poem

| Posted on 2010-08-28 | by a guest


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Notice the form of the poem. Overlooking the absence of regular iambics, see that the first stanza is comprised of 14 lines and pivots at \"Only.\" Sonnet written all over it--a standard/traditional form coinciding with the mind-dominant (as opposed to spirit-dominant) Renaissance (during which time the attitudes of the ancient Greeks, including Sophocles, were \"reborn.\") The next stanza--Sophocles\' projected tragic vision--is eight lines, followed by the complementary six of the retreating \"Sea of Faith\" third stanza. Something has now broken. With the final nine lines as ignorant armies clash in the darkness, the classical poetic form of the sonnet has devolved into formless chaos. All that\'s left to lean on is a personal commitment to loving another individual, thus the speaker\'s plea. The entire scene is post-coital, it seems to me, the speaker suffering from John Donne-ian \"dying\" but devoid of the rake-preacher\'s wry humor...

| Posted on 2010-08-23 | by a guest


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ya'll just the crazyest peoples dat have eva dun posted anything on dis dur page, i think this poem means you guys are duh dumbdest peoples ave to pud somting on duh pages

| Posted on 2010-04-20 | by a guest


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We believe that the entire poem Dover Beach is a symbolization of the authors pessimistic
feelings towards the way of the world and overall, human suffering. Matthew Arnold uses the relationship between the sea and beaches to demonstrate human conflict. The sea in the beginning is calm, and he writes a beautiful scene of the cliffs of England, and the night air breeze drifting through his window while the moon is up. But later in the first stanza he changes the mood by adding the grating roar of peddles which the waves draws back, and fling, perhaps to remark on human nature where all things eventually become violent despite the once calm. He then draws attention to the Greek poet Sophocles, who mirrors his ideas that the mind is like the sea, with turbulent ebbing and flowing, full of unruly and disorganized thoughts. The Sea of Faith is simply a metaphor of human faith, where it was once full and everyone believed, but now that time has passed, like the sea our faiths in the world is retreating until we are simply left with naked shingles, or nothingness. Lastly, the author mentions in the last stanza the clash by night of ignorant armies struggling and fighting, comparing the crash of the waves to human war.

| Posted on 2010-04-12 | by a guest


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it means this world is dying and its goin to hell :) tnx to lack of religion ect. idk just a guess i fail when it comes to trying to interpret peoms :D

| Posted on 2010-04-01 | by a guest


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He is saying that a world lacking religious faith is bereft of all things good. Without faith, everything that once seemed beautiful no longer has any meaning.

| Posted on 2010-03-22 | by a guest


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in this poem the poet realises that the sea of faith which was once powerful and which gripped the whole world as a unifying power like a "girdle furled"is now withdrawing and the hold of religion is loosening as they donot have answers to the questions peeple arouse.Science has provided and is providing answers to the questions of the people and so it has pulling them away from their religion.the tone of this poem is melancholic as the words "tremulous cadence""eternal note of sadness" "turbid ebb and flow of human misery"and the "long withdrawing roar"seems to suggest.
IN the last stanza the poet directly addresses his lover as they were a newly married couple saying that while rest of the world falls apart due to this loss of faith,it is unprotected and exposed,we must remain loyal and "true"to one another as everything else is faithless and fake.this world is a "land of dreams where our perceptions of the world are quite different to the real world and so we must make a pact with each other so that we too are not swept away with the tide where people cannot differentiate between friend or foe as they have lost their wisdom and judgement.
the themes of x Time surface.
the figures of speech used in this poem x full,fair
coast,cliff
long,line
which the waves
folds, furled
Paradox: grating roar of the pebbles(conflict between religious beliefs and the challenges against them which they are unable to counter)
Metaphor: turbid ebb and flow of human misery
Simile: The sea of faith lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
World which seems like a land of dreams
Anaphora: So various,so beautiful, so new....
Nor joy,nor love,nor light,nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.
im in gce o levels and could not understand the earlier part of the poem,but now it semms quite easy.wish me luck.

| Posted on 2010-02-05 | by a guest


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overall view of the poem:
* the movement of the pebbles and waves brings a sad tone to him.
*the persona is in a hotel room looking out the window, and so he calls his beloved to come and join him, or to share the beautiful scece. (the sea is calm)
He first talks about a figurative sea ( a sea of faith).
it was full, and is now in a state of ebb, it is drawing, making horrible sounds. & the explanation given is that the world is full of pain & sunffering.
* the poet presents a very pessimistic view of the world. He states that appearances in this world are deceptive &that we should not be fooled by the brightness of its colors :).
The poem has a sad melancholic tone. The world appears to be like a beautiful place full of dreams, and hopes, it seems very promising, offering endless and new opportunities, but the REALITY of the world is a dreadful place that lacks all the good qualities of joy, love, peace, and certitude.
xoxo

| Posted on 2010-01-24 | by a guest


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This is a poem of a man who is trying to inform the world that it destine for change. a change from religion to science because before this time people used religion as a guide to life and not science. this poem shows how people loose faith do to the knew discovery of science and with that it destroys the values of future generations. he explains how this world is set for destruction with chaos and pain and the only true way to escape this is heaven which is only achieveable through death. he was a man before his time who knew that when science toppled religion it would cause human nature to destroy itself. thus showing us his faith!

| Posted on 2009-12-09 | by a guest


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The main idea of this poem is that the present state of the world is very chaotic, and something must be done to change that if we want a better future. If faith is like the sea, right now it may be receding, but there will come a time when it comes back strongly and until that time, we will have to blindly struggle forward without losing hope.

| Posted on 2009-11-13 | by a guest


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have you evr thought of the fact the the character in this poem was describing his honeymoon with his love? look at the poem again. it makes a lot of sense.

| Posted on 2009-07-26 | by a guest


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Hey guys, and chicks
This poem is about how Arnold is conveying his view that culture has decayed with the waning of religious belief. The poet conveys this message with imagery and language techniques.
Cheers

| Posted on 2009-07-22 | by a guest


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DOVER BEACH
its all about a virtual journey through time.he is lamenting the transition from an age of certainity into an era of erosion of tradition.misery,sadness and meloncholy region most of the poem.he is appealing to humanity for honesty.

| Posted on 2009-05-26 | by a guest


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this dude done dove into da ocean then got scared and jump back out the end dumb people duh

| Posted on 2009-05-14 | by a guest


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the poem is the plead to recognize the significance of the uncertein world we are living in today and gives instances of how the world used to be. It also advices as all to change our ways.

| Posted on 2009-04-30 | by remixnba


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For all you daft people: ARNOLD DID NOT KNOW WW2 WAS GOING TO HAPPEN; This poem pre-dates it. however another battle was faught on the beaches of dover, in which we see references to, so stop saying it was Overloads or apart of the Blitzkrieg or something along those lines.

| Posted on 2009-03-11 | by a guest




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