• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Dark Dover Beach - review

Extracts from this document...


Dark Dover Beach By: Emmanuel Perez For: Aurora Flewwelling-Skup Date: 12/11/2003 Despair and disillusionment towards the notion of religion is what "Dover Beach" ultimately comes down to. The narrator, which we do not know if it's a man or a woman (although we will assume is a man), comes to the disheartening realization that not everything is what it seems to be, and that his religious beliefs, for one, are something that cannot be counted on anymore. From now on, his loved one's faithfulness is all that he has left to cling onto, or at least that is what he counts on, hopes and implores for. We are first transported to Dover Beach, as if we were there, with him, looking through that window, observing the sea, calm at first. The speaker then calls on his companion (of which we can't, again, be certain of its sex, although we will assume it is woman) to look out through the window and listen, as the sea becomes agitated. He then proceeds to recall how Sophocles, the Greek dramatist, had also witnessed, long ago, the same scenery, "on the Aegean", and thus heard the same sounds of a troubled sea, the waves crashing onto the shore, slowly, back and forth: "It brought into his mind the turbid ebb and flow of human misery." ...read more.


It seems to prolong the nostalgic feeling that is starting to seep in, "and bring the eternal note of sadness in." A first allusion to the despondency brought by war is made here, in which continuity will reside, turning into an inescapable routine, which will "cease, and then again begin," relentlessly. The second stanza stands as a pivotal one, dutifully preceded by the previous stanza's last line of eternal sadness. The idea of "human misery" is brought into the scheme and we now start understanding the speaker's murk and anguish. In this stanza's last lines, hearing and sight senses are once again sought out: "We find also in the sound a thought, hearing it by his distant northern sea." The next stanza brings into play the metaphorical "Sea of Faith," which represents religion. Religious principles and doctrines are being swept away by the sea's "melancholy, long, withdrawing roar." He melancholically yearns for the times when religion was widespread, "round earth's shore." He seems to have seen religion as a sort of protective shield, enveloping the world, which "lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled." ...read more.


Enlightenment has crept into oblivion and now all is bleak and dark. The last two are a supplication for peace: "Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night." Religious values and principles no longer guide the people, and war is now prevailing. On a more concrete level, Matthew Arnold's poem, "Dover Beach," is a vivid voice praying for faithful love in what has become an almost evil and faithless world. On an abstract level, though, the poem is a metaphor for never-ending cycle of war and the darkness it brings to the world. The waves, representing the battles, the pebbles the innocent people flung around and about by their force, and that note of dejection and hopelessness present throughout the entire poem hints at no possible end; much less for romantics, which the narrator seems to be. Dover Beach is a cry for both the endurance of love and an end to war. We are lead to believe that the loss of faith is to humanity what the ebbing tide is to nature: inescapable. Furthermore, it is not certain whether Arnold would welcome the Sea of Faith being at its full tide again, for the ebbing uncovered the truths which a full sea covered; and ignorance does not seem to be the speaker's forte. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Love Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Love Poetry essays

  1. How does Arnold explore the ongoing theme of religion in the poem Dover Beach?

    Also, it implies that humans could also descend, maybe to the 'confused alarms of struggle and fight'. This could mean hell, as humans descend to hell due to their modern lack of belief in religion. Arnold pictures the world as a dystopia after the death of religion.

  2. How does Matthew Arnold create a sense of foreboding in Dover Beach?

    The final stanza of the poem commences with an oath by Arnold, he asks his wife to be "true", to him. "Ah, love, let us be true, to one another!". However, as he keeps emphasizing his contradictions, he conveys an idea that his world does not have any basic human ethics.

  1. Cold in the Earth by Emily Brontë - review

    "Then did I learn how existence could be cherished", this shows that although Rosina did feel great love for Brenzaida she still has the strength of character to mourn and then put her life back together. "Strengthened and fed without the aid of joy", the use of the word 'fed'

  2. Plays of Euripides, the Hippolytus - review

    the golden key, That, when more favored lips implore, Unlocks the sacred mystery Of youthful beauty's bridal door. The servants are still running to and fro in wild distraction, when Theseus enters and is told the news.

  1. Love and Loss

    In "First Love" the end lines of the first stanza seem to give the pain of love "my legs refused to walk away" , " and when she looked "what could I ail" , " my life and all seemed turned to clay".

  2. The Two Hearts She ...

    His baby blue shirt is a complete contrast against the black sky and once more, his beauty astonishes her. Just looking at him only added to the throbbing pain inside her, the agony of losing this beautiful creature that was once hers.

  1. Cousin Kate - review

    She's naive "she had nodded quite enchantedly, and her eyes were wide and bright" She obviously doesn't drink occasionally; I pick on this as to how she reacts to it. I read that she thinks she's in love, this shows how innocent and naive she is.

  2. The Sea Wolf.

    The jealousy between these two characters is sprung from their affections for Maude, proving that the theme of jealousy is taken from that of love. Another theme extracted from the dominating theme of love, is the theme of courage. "I am more than brave.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work