Analysis of "Dover Beach"
The Victorian Age was a different time period. It was the beginning of a new civilization based on industry, time, and money. The values brought about by the changing times were hard for the British to cope with. Conflicting ideas of science and religion, education and work, and not reflecting upon actions, caused confusion that was associated with the Victorian Age. Mathew Arnold observed the problem of the changing times and sought after answers to the problems that he and his country were faced with. In Dover Beach he portrays a view of a lost civilization, sees the future, and seeks out solutions.
The Victorian Age caused big changes in British Civilization as it moved into science and industry. However, while progress was made in some fields other areas suffered. For instance, religion was being contradicted by ideas of evolution and scientific origin theories. Some individuals questioned their faith and the image of the world around them, which was based on God's creation. The industrial changes that took place quickly took over the economy. The effects of mass production changed working conditions and changed people's lives. This negative impact on the people's lives was Arnold's key point that he reflects in his poetry.
In Dover Beach Mathew Arnold expresses what he feels is happening to his country. In the first stanza he is looking at the sea and watching the waves slap the shoreline. His tone at first is cheery and exciting. This is obvious in the line, "Glimmering and vast, out on the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night air!" When he turns his gaze to the shores of England, he observes the rolling waves that remind him of something that changes his tone to sorrow. "Listen! You hear the grating roar; Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, At their return up the high strand, Begin, and cease, and then again begin, With tremulous cadence slow, and bring, The eternal note of sadness in." In his...
Cited: Mauk, John and John Metz. The Composition of Everyday Life. Boston: Thomason Wadsworth,
2004. "Dover Beach." Mathew Arnold. p. 512.
Poets.Org. The Academy of American Poets. 2006. 7 November 2006.
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