Critcal Analysis on Dover Beach

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Dover Beach: Matthew Arnold - Summary and Critical Analysis There is a low tremulous sound swinging backward and forward all the time. The poet implies that this sound suggests the eternal note of sadness in human life. Arnold in 'Dover Beach' notes how the pebbles of the sea rolled by the sea-waves bring into the mind the “eternal note of sadness.” Here he points out that in ancient times Sophocles heard the same sound of the pebbles on the shore, and it reminded him of the ebb and flow of human misery. In his Antigone Sophocles expressed this thought. Now this poet hears the sound of this Dover Beach, and he finds in it the same thought. The poet explains the gradual loss of man’s faith in a grand and suggestive simile. He compares faith in religion to a sea that surrounds the world. The sea has its full tide, and then it ebbs away with the mournful music over the pebbles and the grating of the pebbles brings the “eternal note of sadness in”. The poet reminds the world in which there was full of faith and men believed in religion. But now that faith is gradually passing away and men’s minds are like pebbles on the shore. The passing of faith causes the minds to be isolated in the border between belief and disbelief. It is a sad melancholy state. When the poet hears the grating roar of pebbles of the sea, he is reminded of the “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” of faith as it retreats from men’s minds. It is a chilly prospect, like the breath of the night wind, and it brings into the mind a dreary feeling of helplessness, as though the mind is left stripped and bare on the vast and dreary edges of an unknown land. The lines from 'Dover Beach' give bitter expression of Arnold’s loss of faith, his growing pessimism. The world seemed to be strangely unreal, without anything real to cling to on grasp. It has variety, beauty and freshness. But it is all blind

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