Dover beach by matthew arnold meaning
Matthew Arnold Quotes (Author of Dover Beach and Other Poems)
Summary and Analysis of the Poem "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold is a dramatic monologue the that also has a Sonnet form. The poem was written when Arnold was on honeymoon with his newly wedded bride. The poem begins with the calm, pleasant and soothing description of Dover beach. Dover is a city in England that is famous for White Cliffs. The beach lies between England and France.
Andrew has a keen interest in all aspects of poetry and writes extensively on the subject. His poems are published online and in print. Dover Beach is Matthew Arnold's best known poem. Written in it was inspired by two visits he and his new wife Frances made to the south coast of England, where the white cliffs of Dover stand, just twenty two miles from the coast of France. Many claim it to be a honeymoon poem and that is understandable because romantic love, albeit of a Victorian nature, features strongly.
The sea is calm to-night. The tide is full, the moon lies fair Upon the straits; — on the French coast the light Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern sea. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be true To one another! Anyway, back to Arnold at that window, gazing out with his beloved at Dover beach and analysing the scene.
The poem expresses a crisis of faith, with the speaker acknowledging the diminished standing of Christianity, which the speaker sees as being unable to withstand the rising tide of scientific discovery. New research and intellectual inquiry cast doubt on humankind's central and special role in the universe. The speaker in the poem senses this change almost subconsciously, seeing and hearing it in the sea that the speaker is looking out upon. In its expression of alienation, doubt, and melancholy, the poem is often interpreted as a remarkably forward-thinking precursor to 20th century crises of faith—like Existentialism and Absurdism. In essence, the poem is an inquiry into what it means to be alive. The sea is calm tonight. Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!