Dover Beach

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“Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold is a poem from the late 1800’s, which discusses a man’s view on emotion, life, and religion. The author Matthew Arnold portrays this message by using action and the setting of Dover Beach. He alludes to Dover Beach in many ways in order to talk about his personal views. An example is, when the author starts talking about the physical setting of Dover Beach, which he uses to allude to the emotions that he feels. The author then goes on to discuss the human condition and how life isn’t that great and people aren’t that happy. Finally the author uses The Sea of Faith to convey the message that people do not believe in religion as much as they used to.

The Author uses the physical setting of Dover Beach to allude to the emotions that he feels, he talks about “The eternal note of sadness”(14) he then goes on to state what is causing the sadness “…the grating roar/of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling”(9,10). The sounds that the speaker hears are sad and melancholy to him. The speaker goes on to say the waves drawing back and flinging forward has a feel of “tremulous cadence slow”(13). The author continuously is alluding to Dover Beach as a place of eternal sadness, and “tremulous cadence”(13). This is important to the poem because it sets the mood for the upcoming stanzas in the poem. It is also important because this stanza is a turning point in the poem when the author goes from talking about the physical setting of Dover Beach to getting into the mood of the poem by talking about deeper subjects such as the human condition and religion in the late 1800’s.

The author then transitions into a deeper subject. The physical setting of Dover Beach seems to become more abstract as he talks about “Sophocles long ago”(15), and when he talks about how the world and how it “hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain”(33-34). The author talks about how Sophocles heard “The eternal...
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