Analysis of dover beach by matthew arnold

Essay by OARHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2004

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 54 times

"Dover Beach"

"Dover Beach" a poem about a sea and a beach that is truly beautiful, but hold much deeper meaning than what meets the eye. The poem is written in free verse with no particular meter or rhyme scheme, although some of the words do rhyme. Arnold is the speaker speaking to someone he loves. As the poem progresses, the reader sees why Arnold poses the question, How can life or anything be so wonderful, but at times seem so unbearable? , and why life seems to be the way it is.

At the beginning of the poem Arnold states, "The Sea is calm tonight"(1) and, "Only, from the long line of spray". In this way, Arnold is setting the mood so the reader can understand the point he is trying to portray. In lines 1-6 he is talking about a very peaceful night on the ever so calm sea, with the moonlight shining so intensely on the land.

Then he states how the moonlight "gleams and is gone"(4) because the "cliffs of England" (1108 4) are standing at their highest peaks, which are blocking the light of the moon. Next, the waves come roaring into the picture, as they draw back and fling the pebbles onto the shore and back out to sea again. Arnold also mentions that the shore brings "the eternal note of sadness in" (14), maybe representing the cycles of life and repetition.

Arnold then starts describing the history of Sophocle's idea of the Aegean's "turbid ebb and flow"(17). The sea is starting to become rougher and all agitated. Also the mention of "human misery" implies that life begins and ends, but it can still be full of happiness, and unfortunately, at the same time, sadness. "The Sea of Faith/ was...