Dover Beach Analysis

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Dover Beach Analysis With the arrival of Darwin’s Origin of Species, the Victorian period marked an increasing scepticism towards traditional conservative religious beliefs. Many Victorians faced the dilemma of whether they could accept Darwin’s new ideas without compromising their previous feelings about their religion. Dover beach, a poem by Matthew Arnold, reflects the author’s feelings of being stuck between the two realms of belief. The first stanza of the poem uses imagery to describe a beautiful, natural picture of the sea at Dover, as Arnold uses personification, writing `the sea is calm tonight` and `the moon lies fair`. The use of `calm` and `fair` also give the poem a soothing atmosphere, which is reinforced by descriptions of the rhythm of the sea, whose waves `begin, and cease, and then again begin`. The use of commas in this line creates pauses which echo the movement of the sea, as the waves move in and out. The repetition of `begin` also suggests the constant motion of the sea, therefore in the first stanza Arnold gives the poem a prominent rhythm and a strong sense of place through his descriptions of the sound and rhythm of the sea. However the last lines of the first stanza disrupt the poem’s peaceful atmosphere: `With tremulous cadence slow, and bring The eternal note of sadness in` Here, Arnold’s reference to the `note of sadness` suggests something ominous which disturbs the `tranquil bay`. The two lines have a slow rhythm and mournful feeling, similar to that of a funeral procession. Furthermore, the use of `slow` and `eternal` suggest that the note of sadness is an enduring feeling that Arnold has; one that constantly haunts him. The next two stanzas carry through the sense of melancholy brought about at the end of the first stanza, as pathetic fallacy is used to reflect the poet’s own feelings. Arnold describes `the turbid ebb

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