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Anthony Hecht's poem "the Dover Bitch" helps us understand the meaning of Arnold's poem.

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Introduction

Dover Beach Matthew Arnold married Frances Lucy Wightman at Dover, despite her father's disapproval. Wightmans Father was much apposed to the marriage and wanted the two to end their romance and cancel their wedding plans. Thus Arnold wrote Dover Beach in 1851, Arnold uses shifts in sensory imagery to alter the tone of the poem to present the reader with the challenges he faced during his courtship. Arnolds' use of sensory imagery helps the reader to imagine the experiences that invoke sight, hearing, sense of smell and taste, and tactile perceptions. For example the use of sensory imagery is used extensively in the first three lines of the poem: The sea is calm tonight; The tide is full, the moon lies fair; Upon the Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay; Come to ...read more.

Middle

The imagery he has planted in our minds is beautiful and wonderful. Even the smell, "Sweet is the night air," presents the reader with an awareness of the world around them. He describes Dover Beach in such detail that you almost feel as if you are there, giving you all the sensory information to paint a vivid picture in your mind. The sensory information changes in line 9 "Listen! You hear the grating roar." The peaceful tranquility of Arnold's opening lines is shattered by a disturbing noise. The change of tone is shown in the contrast between the actions of the moon which lies fair and that of the pebbles and waves that pound the beach with angry, relentless determination. ...read more.

Conclusion

This I believe is a metaphor for the misery that her father has inflicted on there love. He goes on in line 28 "And naked shingles of the world", this I think means that their innocent love has been washed and battered by the over bearing Mr. Wightman. Anthony Hecht's poem "the Dover Bitch" helps us understand the meaning of Arnold's poem. The poem states "Matthew Arnold and this girl" in the beginning of the poem clearly meaning that the poem is about Matthew Arnold and his love Frances Lucy Wightman; which to me is not clear in Dover Beach. Dover Bitch also gives some information about the relationship between Arnold and his wife, though I don't know if it is factual or not, for it is a parody. Wayne Milligan Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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