You And Me

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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The Victorian period was a time of change. Ideas and feelings about society and life began to change, thus changing conditions of life. During the Victorian period peace and economic growth helped extend the hand of political power to the middle classes causing an era of well being. There was also a down side to this ear, many people became very materialistic, and sheer waste that came with progress made many writers and poet's wonder if their society was even advancing. Poets such as Matthew Arnold and Robert Browning were known for images and expressions in their poems that helped express their own personal reflections on Victorian society. Robert Browning's "Dover Beach " expresses a mood of change or an unknowing of what the future holds. He expresses doubt and uncertainty in society.

" Dover Beach" is spoken softly but is received powerfully through vivid images. It focuses on expressing emotions or thoughts, rather than on telling a story.

The beginning of the poem, lines one through five set a mood of calmness. The speaker talks of the calm sea and the full tide with the fare moon shining off the French coast. This feeling of calmness is broken in the next lines by a change in the speaker's tone.

In lines six through ten the speaker addresses his love to join him at the window and smell the night air. He tells of the sound of the tide flinging the beach pebbles back and forth against the shore. Lines eleven through fourteen, " 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," tell of the speakers sadness. In this point of the poem it does not tell why he is sad, maybe its his uncertainty in were his life is headed. In this point of his life, life its self is uncertain, many things were changing in his life making it more complicated.

In lines fifteen through twenty the speaker talks of Sophocles and how he to heard it to, the changing world, and human misery long ago. Sophecles was a writer of ancient Greek tragedies. By talking of Sophecles the speaker is saying that they both shared the same ideas and views in society. In lines twenty-one through twenty-eight the speaker begins to talk of his faith and how it is fading, " The sea of faith was once, too, at the full." He can hear its "withdrawing roar retreating." The speaker once had faith but now his faith is leaving him for some reason. He feels that the past is gone and can never be regained. All his uncertainties in life are upon him. In the Victorian era, gains in science and industrialism began to transform human life and many people feared change.

In the final stanza, lines twenty-nine through thirty-seven the speaker tells his better half, "Ah, love, let us be true to one another." Faith and love are things to cling on to in a world of such uncertain times. Lines 35-37, " And we are here as a darkling plain swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night," complete the poem by saying in this changing world lets be true and in that we will prosper. In human creation warfare, tragic conclusions, and the notion of creation creates uncertainty. This poem was written during a time when the speaker's life was going in uncertain directions. He wants to hold on to the things he charities. This poem was written as a love poem to his wife during a honeymoon, perhaps his marriage sparked something in him that he could not let go of, writing this poem was a way for him to let go. Life its self is mysterious, it is part of life to be able to compromise and adjust to change for better or for worse.