Doner Beach Analysis

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Within his dramatic monologue “Doner Beach,” Mathew Arnold illustrates his melancholy view of the world. He conveys his primary purpose of challenging the validity of religion and stating the importance of worldly love by the use of his first and third person perspective, pervasive onomatopoeia, allusions, and powerful and sense-provoking figurative language. The initial stanza contains a variety of detailed imagery and strong figurative language to create a setting, a broad view of the horizon, for the rest of the poem. For example, the author creates a clear image by describing that the “sea meets the moon-blanched land” and on the “French coast, the light gleams.” These strong detailed descriptions serve to create a realistic and vivid picture in the mind of the reader and more importantly, creating a dismal setting to let the “eternal note of sadness in.” In addition to the detailed imagery in the first stanza, the use of sound techniques, specifically onomatopoeia, is used to appeal to even more senses. The “grating roar of pebbles” and “waves draw back, and fling,” for example, mimic true sounds of the sea. In fact, the author even states, “Listen!” to alert the reader and focus on the soothing yet gloomy melody produced by Doner Beach. The second stanza, however, doesn’t contain as much intensive imagery as the first, but instead, makes an allusion to Sophocles, a legendary Greek playwright known for his emphasis on human misery. This allusion is particularly significant because it shows that the author has the same heartache, through his third person perspective when stating, “Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow of human misery; we find also in the sound a thought.” While the first two stanzas focus on evoking a melancholy tone and the author’s depressing view of the world, the third and fourth stanzas shift into the actual purpose of questioning religion and his resolution for the humankind. The third stanza contains the primary shift of the...
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