Dover Beach Tone

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In the poem “Dover Beach”, Matthew Arnold laments the loss of good values and peace in the world. The poem suggests that people have declined because of the disappearance of faith. Faith, an anchor helping people uphold good values, disappeared in recent generations because of new ideas around the time the poem was written, like enlightenment. Towards the end of the poem, Arnold says that while these good things are gone the one thing people still have is love, something he also has with his new wife. In Britain, the White Cliffs of Dover symbolizes peace for many people even though many invasions of Britain happened there through the centuries. Matthew Arnold wrote this poem while at Dover Beach on the last night of his honeymoon. This…show more content…
The first line of the poem states “the sea is calm tonight” showing simpleness and sets the pace for the poem as slow and calm. The tone of the poem changes to make the reader feel sorrow and creates a picture to make them feel as though they are at dover beach by saying: “Listen! you hear the grating roar/ Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling.” By writing listen with an exclamation mark, Arnold pulls the reader into the story, making them really think about what the poem is saying. These lines give the reader an image in their mind of waves creating a roaring noise when they smash against the pebbles. The poem transferred from a calm beach to a set of waves slamming into the shoreline which a metaphor for the loss of peace. The last sentence of the stanza says’ “and bring/ The eternal note of sadness in” which makes the reader think of this ongoing sadness that is generational. Sadness is eternal, and the sea has been around forever making the sea represent sadness because both are ongoing, and when the author hears the sea, he thinks of sadness…show more content…
The second stanza continues the generational aspect by talking about “sophocles long ago” hearing the “humans misery” in the “Aegean sea” which shows that human misery has been around for a long time. While human misery is everywhere there also used to be good things like “the sea of faith” which “was once ,too, at the full” but it is now almost gone. The too is a reference back to the Aegean Sea representing human misery. The sea of faith symbolizes faith and religion. While the sea of faith is ”retreating, to the breath/ of the night-wind” showing that faith is almost completely lost in the world while misery is everywhere. Faith mattered long ago but in the years surrounding the author’s life people did not have faith. The “night-wind” captures the idea of the Sea of Faith disappearing into the darkness of this world. The Sea of Faith made a ”melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” incorporating personification to portray the idea of faith being a living breathing thing, but without people believing in it, faith dies. This shows the importance of faith, and without faith, the world is a sad place full of melancholy and sorrow. Faith is necessary to humans really living because then people really believe in something even though they do not know it is actually there. When the Author says, “down the vast edges drear/ And naked shingles of the

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