Dover Beach is a poem by Matthew Arnold that was first published in 1867. It is a contemplative and melancholic work that reflects on the fleeting nature of life and the ways in which humanity grapples with the mysteries and uncertainties of the world.
The poem is set on the coast of Dover, a town on the southeastern coast of England. The speaker of the poem stands on the beach and looks out at the sea, which is described as a "tremulous sea of faith" that is constantly shifting and changing. The speaker laments the loss of faith and belief in the world and the way that science and reason have replaced traditional values and beliefs.
As the speaker watches the sea, they see the "eternal note of sadness" that is inherent in the natural world, and they are filled with a sense of despair and hopelessness. The poem ends with the speaker urging the person they are with to "love thy life, lest thou forget to live." This final line serves as a reminder to embrace life and the present moment, despite the difficulties and uncertainties that may come our way.
Throughout the poem, Arnold uses vivid and evocative language to convey the mood and themes of the work. The sea is described as a "grating roar" and a "numb, naked shingle" that is "darkling" and "drearily." These descriptions convey the sense of isolation and desolation that the speaker feels as they stand on the beach, looking out at the vast and unforgiving sea.
In summary, Dover Beach is a poignant and thought-provoking poem that explores the theme of the human search for meaning and understanding in a world that is constantly changing and often seems to lack meaning. It encourages us to embrace life and find meaning in the present moment, even in the face of uncertainty and despair.
Dover Beach Poem Summary & Analysis
He worries there is no guarantee of love, joy, healing pain, or even peace. The moon shines on the water, and a light pulses across the channel on the French shore. The waves of the sea rush on the shore, and then retreat to the sea with a slow, tremulous cadence which brings the poet in a note of eternal sadness. Arnold is the speaker speaking to someone he loves. Instead, he speaks of the "Sea of Faith" without linking it to any deity or heaven. Like the sea which is now at the full tide, faith too was at its full in the past.
Ans : Matthew Arnold's concern in this poem is to show the loss of faith, religion, and the meaning of life resulting from industrialization and advancement in science and technology. The effect is to give the poem a faster pace: the information hits us in rapid succession, forming a clear picture in our minds little by little. Dover Beach Summary "Dover Beach" is a poem by Matthew Arnold about the clash between science and religion. The first two lines establish this rhythm, which is then broken in the third line: The sea is calm to- night. The poem is truly beautiful and holds a much deeper meaning.
In a world where religious authority over Truth is quashed, where the wave of Faith is ebbing and where God had become just a god, love and faithfulness towards one another was the only respite that anyone could attempt to seek. This sight of the recession of the waves reminds the poet of the withdrawal of religious faith from the world and the consequent inroad of doubt. The waves are drawing the stones backward to the sea and then again throwing fling them back onto high shore strand on their return journey. As he listens, the speaker detects in that grating sound and slow rhythm the "eternal note of sadness. But then, after the long dash, the iambic rhythm falters.
Matthew Arnold: Poems “Dover Beach” (1867) Summary and Analysis
To accomplish the end, the poem uses many imagery and sensory information in his poem. This "faith" has a definite humanist tinge - it seems to have once guided decisions and smoothed over the world's problems, tying everyone together in a meaningful way. Even he speaks about the Sea of Faith without linking it to any deity or heaven. As the waves recede, they cast back pebbles on the shore. It is precisely this mournful state of mind that leads him, finally, to beg his beloved to remain faithful in an otherwise faithless world. Battles are being made among unknowing groups under the cover of darkness. The opening image in its calm beauty is, the speaker says, only an illusion: it only "seems" to be a "land of dreams.
It surpasses even that of Hardly, the prince among the pessimistic writers. The poem, "Dover Beach" is such a perfect portrait of the Victorian era but the poet seems lost and lonely in his situation, unable to converse with the human being next to him. And tonight the poet and his beloved hear the same quivering musical sound produced by the ebb and flow of the turbid waves of the northern sea i. What does "Dover Beach," say about love? We are in a confused struggle as if ignorant soldiers are fighting with each other in the darkness. Because the poem so wonderfully straddles the line between poetic reflection and desperate uncertainty, it has remained a well-loved piece throughout the centuries. A similar contrast occurs in Stanza 3. The dreamy modern world which seems so beautiful with its varieties, is not really a source of joy, love, light, certainty, peace or help for pain for the speaker.
What Arnold is expressing is an innate quality, a natural drive towards beauty. Such a dual experience — between the celebration of and lament for humanity —Â is especiallyÂ possible for Arnold, since mankind has traded faith for science following the publication of On the Origin of SpeciesÂ and therefore theÂ rise of Darwinism. This is due to the fact that a battlefield full of people fighting in the absolute darkness. Though there is momentary excitement, it concludes that the moonstruck sea induces sadness. The poem epitomizesÂ a particularÂ sort ofÂ poetic experience,Â during whichÂ the poet focuses onÂ oneÂ momentÂ to getÂ profound depths.
The sea is calm tonight. These two responses are not mutually exclusive. He sees the light on the French coast gleaming. In fact, the speaker's true reflection begins once the only sign of life - the light over in France - extinguishes. It is this latter tumult that terrifies the speaker and makes him beg his lover to stay true to him. Human Faith, the religious faith and faith in fellow people once covered the earth like sea water.
Arnold died on 15th April 1888 due to heart failure. In the end, it can be summed up that "Dover Beach" is a perfect picture of Victorian Society, its cause, sufferings, and its achievements. He was intensely engaged with the questions and moral dilemmas Victorian England had been grappling with. The second date is today's date — the date you are citing the material. A perfect ray of melancholy flows into the second stanza too. How does Matthew Arnold show the conflict between religion and science in Dover Beach? It also suggests that Arnold does not wish to create a pretty picture meant for reflection.
Arnold is indicating that people have always been, at heart, the same: people long for certainty and, without it, suffer terribly and will always try to pinpoint some kind of certainty and hope of joy in their lives. He often uses the rhythm of lines to imitate the motion of the water, as can be heard in the wave-like pulses of the opening lines. As the land is left bare, bereft of its beautiful clothing, so is humanity left without comfort or beauty. In the final stanza, the speaker directly addresses his beloved who sits next to him, asking that they always be true to one another and to the world that is laid out before them. He warns, however, that the world's beauty is just an illusion, since it is, in fact, a battlefield full of people fighting in absolute darkness.
The speaker stands on the titular beach and describes the sea and the pebbled shore, highlighting the notes of sadness there. The poem epitomizes a certain type of poetic experience, in which the poet focuses on a single moment in order to discover profound depths. What is the importance of being true to each other in a faithless world? Cite this page as follows: "Dover Beach - Summary" eNotes Publishing Ed. Example: Advertisements The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone;… It is also rich in the use of visual and auditory images while describing the sea and the waves. Ans : The world looks smart and beautiful but in reality, it is corrupted and spiritually hollow. To talk about the stylistic aspects of the poem, the lines are mostly rhyming. The sea is no longer what it used to be.