Does ‘Musee de Beaux Arts’ or ‘Dover Beach’ Express Universal Truths about Suffering, Art, and Life?

Does ‘Musee de Beaux Arts’ or ‘Dover Beach’ Express Universal Truths about Suffering, Art, and Life?

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Aesthetics is a part of philosophy that pertains to the nature of beauty, art, and taste with the creation and appreciation of beauty. When speaking casually, if we describe a piece of literature, or picture, or anything as ‘aesthetically pleasing’ we usually are referring to the feeling of pleasure we get once looking at it. In this respect the sense of ‘aesthetic’ is loosely synonymous with that of ‘artistic’. Aesthetics derives from a Greek word meaning ‘things perceptible to the sense’, or ‘sensory impressions’. At its broadest, anything could have an aesthetic effect simply by virtue of being sensed and perceived. However, since this definition, aesthetics became narrowed to mean not just sense perception in general but ‘perception of the beautiful’ in particular. The poem ‘Dover Beach’ written by Matthew Arnold is categorised as a classic for its understated, discreet style and gripping expression of spiritual despair. ‘Dover Beach’ is considered an accurate representation of the Victorian Era. It illustrates the mood and tone of society at that time and how they lived their everyday lives. The Victorian Period was also known as the ‘Time of Trouble’ which took a large toll on the happiness of the people. Many writers in this period started to take on a melancholic tone in their work, Arnold included. Broadly, the poem ‘Dover Beach’ is about human misery and loss of religious faith.

The beginning of the poem instills both the physical and mental awareness of the speaker, a person engrossed with the sensory imagery displaced before them. In the first few lines of the poem, the visual imagery suggests a feeling of calamity and serenity with phrases like “The sea is calm to-night.” “The tide is full, the moon lies fair” and “o...

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...ming, emotionless world. With this change, Arnold states, that there will be “confused alarms of struggle and flight”. Without harmony, and the basic human values, Arnold is saying that the human race will no longer sustain and sooner or later become extinct.

Arnold exhibits the imperfections of modernism in his poem. These flaws expressed by Arnold will unavoidably lead to complete loss of faith.

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