Essay on Technical Qualities, Symbolism, and Imagery of Dover Beach

Essay on Technical Qualities, Symbolism, and Imagery of Dover Beach

Length: 1632 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Technical Qualities, Symbolism, and Imagery of "Dover Beach"


In "Dover Beach," Matthew Arnold creates a dramatic monologue of the Victorian Era that shows how perceptions can be misleading. Arnold conveys the theme of "Dover Beach" through three essential developments: the technical qualities of the poem itself, symbolism, and imagery. The theme of illusion versus reality in "Dover Beach" reflects the speaker's awareness of the incompatibility between what is perceived and what truly is real.

The technical qualities of the poem include rhythm and meter, rhyme, figures of speech, sound, and irony of the words. The mechanics alone do not explain why illusion and reality differ, but they do help to explain how Arnold sets up the poem to support the theme.

The most prominent mechanisms include the rhythm and the meter of the lines and the stanzas of the poem. Line 1 is an iambic trimeter: The sea/is calm/to-night. The gentle pulsating rhythm of the iamb mirrors the ebb and flow of the sea. The actual words of the first line manifest this idea to picture a calm sea gently lapping at the beach. The second line, an iambic tetramater, also reveals a calm sea. However, line 3 breaks the pattern and forces the reader to break his or her own rhythm. Line 3 includes: Upon/the straits,//on the French/Coast/the light. The line begins and ends with an iamb, but the middle is broken up with an anapest. The anapest is a foreshadow of the tumult to come. The fourth line breaks up even farther with an anapest at the beginning, but the fifth line recovers the rhythm. Glimmering/and vast//out in/the tran/quil bay.

The rhythm recovers by the end of the first stanza, but the original trimeter has not. The number of feet per lin...


... middle of paper ...


...he speaker is supported by the rhythm and the meter, the lack of a consistent rhyme scheme, the figures of speech, the sound of the words, and the irony of the entire poem. The symbolism of the sea and the imagery of light and dark bring out the alternating visual and auditory qualities, which elaborate on illusion and reality, respectively, Arnold's portrayal of one person's battle with illusion and reality shows a complex view of humanity in a simple poem.



Works Cited

Arnold, Matthew. "Dover Beach." [1867] Literature. 5th ed. Eds.

James H. Pickering and Jeffery D. Hoeper. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 1997. 952-53.

Ciardi, John. How Does A Poem Mean? Boston: Houghton, 1975. 196.

Untermeyer, Louis. The Pursuit of Poetry. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1969. 57-59.

Walcutt, Charles Child. The Explicator. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1968. 16-9.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Perceptions in Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach Essay

- Perceptions in Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach Matthew Arnold’s “Dover beach” describe the way in which perceptions are mislead society. The use of metaphors, symbolisms, allusiveness, technical quantities, and imagery assist the speaker’s thought regards between what is seen and what is real. Dover beach was written during Victorian era. Which brought civilization based on industry, value and money. This is the time which people start questioning the existence of God. The speaker observed the plight of Victorian era....   [tags: Matthew Arnold Dover Beach Essays]

Powerful Essays
1173 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Conflicting Imagery in Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach

- 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]

Powerful Essays
521 words (1.5 pages)

The Role of Imagery and Symbolism in Macbeth Essay

- In the play of Macbeth, imagery and symbolism is greatly used. Night vs. Day is a very significant image reoccurring throughout the course of Macbeth. It is found to be reoccurring throughout Macbeth because of the many events changing drastically throughout the play. It shows how Macbeth’s character changes throughout the day. This theme of Night vs. Day also concerns many other individuals from the story. This incorporates the three witches, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Macduff. More often than the others, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the three witches were mainly the ones who drew more attention to the theme....   [tags: Shakespeare]

Powerful Essays
1360 words (3.9 pages)

Imagery And Symbolism Of Marquez Essay

- Imagery and Symbolism of Márquez Gabriel García Márquez, a Colombian author who specializes upon story themes exchanging realistic events with elements of the impossible, magical realism. In the circumstances and environment in which he was raised, his influences derived upon tales of a superstitious reality, stories involving unexplainable elements. Márquez, born in the late 1920s, eldest of twelve children, developed under the care of his maternal grandparents. As a child, his grandmother provided him with the knowledge and exposed him the the world of magical realism in stories with her stylistic, straightforward spoken word....   [tags: Short story, Fiction, Bolesław Prus, Writing]

Powerful Essays
826 words (2.4 pages)

Imagery and Symbolism in "Macbeth" Essay

- Shakespeare uses imagery and symbolism to weave an intriguing web of darkness and evil that captivates the audience throughout the play, "Macbeth." Two important symbols are darkness and blood. Combined with violent weather and witches, they help to weave an eerie tale of murder plotted by Lady Macbeth and eventually embraced and executed by Macbeth. Dark and stormy nights often set the scene, and they become analogous with the happening of evil deeds. Intertwined with dark, stormy nights is the appearance of witches and the powerful symbol of blood....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature]

Powerful Essays
2063 words (5.9 pages)

Essay on Technical Communication and the Computer Programmer

- Technical communication is most likely going to be the most difficult part of my professional career as a computer scientist. Writing for this field is similar to other fields since programmers are expected to be able to write documents that are easily understandable by the software users, and are readily usable with technical details for professionals. Programmers must write many documents directed at the non-technical audience which consists of text within programs, read me files, help files, manuals on software use, presentations for clients, and many more....   [tags: Technical Writing]

Powerful Essays
679 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Dover Beach: An Analysis

- An Analysis of Dover Beach Dover Beach intrigued me as soon as I read the title. I have a great love of beaches, so I feel a connection with the speaker as he or she stands on the cliffs of Dover, looking out at the sea and reflecting on life. Arnold successfully captures the mystical beauty of the ocean as it echoes human existence and the struggles of life. The moods of the speaker throughout the poem change dramatically as do the moods of the sea. The irregular, unordered rhyme is representative of these inharmonious moods and struggles....   [tags: Arnold Dover Beach Essays]

Powerful Essays
1038 words (3 pages)

Essay on the Victorian View of Dover Beach

- The Victorian View of Dover Beach      As the narrator of Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" looks out his window, he sees a beautiful world of nature: the sea and the cliffs under the glow of the moon. Describing this scene to his lover, he invites her to "[c]ome to the window" so that she might see it too (6). However, it is not just a beautiful beach that the speaker wishes his lover to see. Rather, he wants her to see Dover Beach as an ironic image that is a representation of his whole world....   [tags: Arnold Dover Beach Essays]

Powerful Essays
883 words (2.5 pages)

Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach Essay

- 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]

Powerful Essays
1585 words (4.5 pages)

Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Imagery and Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Imagery and Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper On my first reading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", I found the short story extremely well done and the author, successful at getting her idea across.  Gilman's use of imagery and symbolism only adds to the reality of the nameless main character's sheltered life and slow progression into insanity or some might say, out of insanity.  The short story is written in first person and it is from our nameless character's writing's that we are introduced to her world and her life.  It is through this that we see our main characters transition into a world that only she has access to.  She changes dramatically from our...   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Free Essays
734 words (2.1 pages)