Dover Beach

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Topics: Poetry, Stanza
Dover Beach Essay

In the symbolic poem “Dover Beach” written by Matthew Arnold the main idea is that of change. The poet uses language features and techniques such as assonance, extended metaphor and adjectives as well as using symbolism. The effect of this is to decorate the poem and to enhance the way the main idea of science overthrowing religion is being shown.
The poet, Matthew Arnold, uses descriptive language, language techniques and symbolism to dramatically enhance the poem, titled ‘Dover Beach’. He uses adjectives and punctuation such as Caesura for maximum effect. In the poem the “calm” and “full” sea represents science, trying to overthrow the flickering lights on top of the vast and mighty “English cliff” and the “tranquil” French coast. The cliffs and coasts represent the idea of religion is constantly fading by the hand of science as shown throughout the poem. Arnolds various descriptions of the setting are highly decorated. He uses adjectives such as “calm, gleams and light” and these present soothing and inviting vowel sounds to give a sense of tranquillity, peacefulness and beauty in the setting. One more feature used is a Caesura which breaks up the third line in order to create suspense. “Upon the straits; - on the French coast the light” By doing this Arnolds hints at a major theme present throughout the poem; comparing Dover Beach to the struggles and impurities of human nature. Therefore the poet has specifically and successfully included theses examples to embellish the setting and theme.
However, in the second stanza the tone begins to change to a darker and more sombre mood as the perfect picture of the beach starts to show its true colours as the symbolism matures. Arnold does this by using language features such as alliteration, assonance, repetition and inversion. As well as this he uses symbolism. The opening line leads with both alliteration followed by an example of assonance which is used to symbolise how the sea [science] is

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