Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold Essay

Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold Essay

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Written by Matthew Arnold around 1851 while one his honeymoon, Dover Beach is a dramatic monologue addressed to his wife, Frances Wightman, and “any woman listening to the observations of any man” (Cummings); during this time, the world had just come out of the Romantic era and was entering the era of the industrial revolution. New inventions in technology were changing the world and science such as biology and astronomy were challenging long held beliefs of the church and by the church. The church which was going through trials of its own with the Church of England splitting into the low, broad, and high churches (Unknown). In Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold writes of Religion and the Industrial Revolution and how they affected the human condition at the time and these themes and concerns are just as relevant today was they were 159 years ago.
One of the themes and central messages in Dover Beach are the “Challenges to the validity of long-standing theological and moral precepts have shaken the faith of people in God and Religion” (Cummings). During Arnold’s time new secularist nationalism, humanism, evolution, and religious conservatism by transcendentalists were cropping up and even sometimes taking the place of the old traditional church beliefs (Boulton; Unknown)“the existence of god and the whole Christian scheme of things was cast in doubt” (Cummings). This shift was the result of the changing Industrial Revolution and numerous social and economic problems due to this shift (Unknown). Many in Victorian society were conflicted and “a loss of faith for many became a phase throughout Victorian society as a whole” (Unknown). The writers, who at the time felt their duty was to write of the common experiences and ideas of society ...


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... David. "Who Needs Religion?" New Internationalist (2004): 14.
Cummings, William. "Dover Beach." n.d. Cummings Study Guides. May 2011 .
Dickie, Jordan. "Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach": Analsis." 2010. Bestword. May 2011 .
Lienhard, John. "Engines of Our Ingenuity." 2006. Dover Beach. May 2011 .
Rosenblatt, Roger. "Essay: Where Is Our Dover Beach?" Time (1985).
Schow, H. Wayne. "Arnold's 'Dover Beach.'." The Explicator (1998): 26.
Touche, Julia. "Arnold's "Dover Beach": A Commentary." 2009. Victorian Web. May 2011 .
Unknown. "Matthew Arnold." 28th April 2011. University of Iowa. May 2011 .

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