Great works of poetry convey a feeling, mood, or message that affects the reader on an emotional, personal level. Great works of poetry can do that -- translate a literal story/theme -- but masterpieces, like Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," are a double-edged sword, containing a second, figurative theme -- a message between the lines and underneath the obvious. Not only is Matthew Arnold's 1867 poem, "Dover Beach," a unique and beautiful literary work describing a lover's longing for trust and faith, but on a figurative plain it also stands as a metaphor for that constant evil called war.
Literally, "Dover Beach" flows through four irregularly rhymed sections that increase in emotional impact and describe a lover's need for faithfulness in an otherwise dark and unfaithful world. In this traditional sense, the narrator of "Dover Beach" is either a man or woman standing at a window wearily reflecting on the world while staring at the beauty of the night coast. In the first section (Arnold's poem is very prose-like in its lack of a distinct structure or rhyme scheme, sputtering through the first nine lines in an abacdbdce rhyme scheme), the lover declares that "The sea is calm tonight." The poem continues with simple imagery of the atmosphere, describing the full tide, the moon, the beaches of Dover, the night air, the waves, all of which we presume are viewable from the narrator's window. The scene is cemented: a moon-bathed beach, the waves drawing back, only to crash back in a "grating roar of pebbles." "The eternal note of sadness" is set as the lover begins to question the beauty he sees and the love he longs to keep.
The next two sections of "Dover Beach" describe a w...
... middle of paper ...
...re ignorant armies clash by night." Whether Arnold intends to imply that these things were murdered and driven from the world by war or that they never even existed in the first place is left to the readers to decide for themselves.
On a traditional, literal level, Matthew Arnold's poem, "Dover Beach," is a vivid voice praying for faithful love in a beautiful yet evil and faithless world, but figuratively, the poem is a metaphor for the cycle of war and the darkness it brings to the world. The waves represent the battles, the pebbles the innocent people flung about by their power, and that note of despair present throughout the entire poem hints at no possible end for weary romantics like the poem's narrator. Crying both for the endurance of love and an end to war at the same time, "Dover Beach" stands as a poetic masterpiece of one eternal note: sadness.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Matthew Arnold's 'Dover Beach' Matthew Arnold's 'Dover Beach' employs the sounds of language in three ways, through onomatopoeia to aurally represent the actions occurring on the beach, a varying meter which mirrors the varying heights of the waves on the beach, and a rhyme scheme which searches for its identity. In each stanza of the poem when the sounds of language are chaotic, the visual descriptions in the poem are tranquil, but when the visual descriptions are chaotic, the sounds of language become tranquil.... [tags: Matthew Arnold Dover Beach Essays Poem]
1585 words (4.5 pages)
- Relationships can be a roller-coaster of emotions especially when time is changing as people know it and often times in those relationships the individuals handle the change in different ways resulting in relationships failing. Such is the case in “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold a poem that discusses a man’s fear of the changing world around him and how it could potentially affect his own personal relationship. However the poem is only told from one perspective leaving the audience to infer that the person he is talking to agrees with his ideas.... [tags: Interpersonal relationship, Love, Matthew Arnold]
861 words (2.5 pages)
- The poem of “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold symbolizes the disconnection and separation from nature and society as demonstrated throughout Fahrenheit 451. As Montag struggles to make connections and begins to realize the flaws within the society he lives in, he turns to that of books to search for answers. In the world Montag had come to know, the people such as Ms. Phelps and Ms. Bowles have become blinded by false realities without the light of knowledge. Bradbury has Montag read this specific poem to the ladies because of the many similarities that it shares with their society, specifically the discovery of the unrelenting sadness in the world, the human suffering, the loss of faith, and... [tags: Fahrenheit 451, Dystopia, Dover Beach]
1421 words (4.1 pages)
- As humans, we all have one thing we are very passionate about. In difficult time, one can all resort back to this specific passion and it helps give a sense of relief. But what if suddenly that one key passion in life was being taken away little by little. Poet, Matthew Arnold captured this experience in his free verse poem “Dover Beach.” Arnold was a very passionate towards Christ, and in the mid 1800’s Christianity began dying out all across his homeland, England. Arnold wrote this free verse sitting on the shore of Dover Beach, suggesting the setting and the title of the poem, with his newly wedded wife to express his sadness of his nation losing faith.... [tags: Poetry, Rhyme, Grammatical person, Dover Beach]
1132 words (3.2 pages)
- 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).... [tags: Literary Review ]
1497 words (4.3 pages)
- Conflicting Imagery in Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach In the poem Dover Beach, the poet uses conflicting imagery to give meaning to the poem. The differences in the way that the poet sees the relationship between the beach and the sea and the way that most people would see it become more pronounced as the poem develops. He also uses the change in attitude from the first stanza to the last to emphasize his message. The poem starts with the normal image one would expect of a beach and a peaceful moonlit night, but quickly moves to an entirely different point of view.... [tags: Arnold Dover Beach Essays Poem Poetry Analysis]
521 words (1.5 pages)
- Wanderlust, founded America. Faith, keeps Americans hopeful. Adversity, promises change. The two poems, “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold and “Sea Fever” by John Masefield, perfectly illustrate the power of wanderlust, the power of suffering, and the power of faith, in the most complex battle against the human mind; the poems reveal literal and metaphorical vision of the sea. John Masefield, a copious writer, had a history of siding with the weak against the strong (Strong 356). Masefield found his identity in love of life and compassion for all that live it (356).... [tags: Poetry, Stanza, Dover Beach, Human]
1624 words (4.6 pages)
- Chaos Comes Together In the poem, “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold, the speaker begins the poem enjoying the sight of the ocean from the cliffs at Dover Beach. While admiring the view the speaker analyzes humanity and the world. Through this analysis we see a crisis of faith happen as the speaker realizes that within life there is no certainty or guarantee of happiness as chaos reigns supreme. Throughout the entirety of the poem, “Dover Beach” alliteration is used extensively. In the first stanza, the speaker says, “Gleams and is gone;” (4).... [tags: Poetry, Rhyme, Stanza, Iambic pentameter]
1122 words (3.2 pages)
- Rolling With the Deep: Religion’s Shift in Dover Beach Towering whitecaps hurl pebbles onto a moonlit beach like children splashing each other, as tall pale cliffs stand behind them watching; their white faces glitter with parental pride. Over and over, the shallow water is filled with the flying stones. From watching the tides, humans have thought that the Ocean is a living force due to its sudden tendency to wreak havoc with seemingly random storms. People that live today know better, and have come to appreciate the Ocean for all the benefit it provides.... [tags: Religion, Faith, Poetry, Charles Darwin]
1280 words (3.7 pages)
- Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach Great works of poetry convey a feeling, mood, or message that affects the reader on an emotional, personal level. Great works of poetry can do that -- translate a literal story/theme -- but masterpieces, like Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," are a double-edged sword, containing a second, figurative theme -- a message between the lines and underneath the obvious. Not only is Matthew Arnold's 1867 poem, "Dover Beach," a unique and beautiful literary work describing a lover's longing for trust and faith, but on a figurative plain it also stands as a metaphor for that constant evil called war.... [tags: Poem Poetry Essays]
913 words (2.6 pages)