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Dover Beach Essay

  • Submitted by: gwntrfgog371
  • on November 10, 2009
  • Category: Arts and Music
  • Length: 558 words

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Below is an essay on "Dover Beach" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Depression and ennui are illustrated in Mathew Arnold’s Dover Beach through the tone and subject of the retreat and loss of faith. He suggests that faith and love have been lost and this is a central concern in modernity. These ideas are depicted through the use of various poetic techniques as well as Arnold’s use of language.
        The poem begins with the world appearing to be a very pleasant and beautiful place. The diction creates a peaceful atmosphere with the use of words such as “calm”, “fair” and “glimmering”. However, through a very gradual change of tone, Arnold begins to change the mood from one of peace and beauty to sadness and depression. Again his diction helps emphasise this through words such as “cease” and “tremulous cadence”. The repetitive nature of the waves creates a sense of sentimental loss, as they would “begin, and cease, and then begin again.” The complete change of tone is shown through the last line of the first stanza, ending with “The eternal note of sadness.” This slow change of tone in the first stanza creates a sense of depression in the poem and a feeling that nothing is being done to restore a sense of peace and beauty.
        The theme of the loss of faith in the poem also enforces a feeling of depression in the poem. Arnold describes the glory days of the earth in terms of faith. He creates the image of “the sea of Faith” that was “at the full.” He uses a simile to describe how faith wrapped around the earth like a “bright girdle furled”. Arnold contrasts the words “once” and “now” showing how faith is no longer a sea at full, only hearing “Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.” He juxtaposes what faith once was and what it is now. He extends the simile of faith clothing the earth describing the world as being “naked.” Arnold describes the negative impacts of the loss of faith by associating it to a play by Sophocles through the use of allusion. Sophocles once heard the sound of “human misery” on the Aegean but now the...

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