Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" Analytical Essay by Sam I Am

Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"
An analysis of the literary techniques and the primary themes in Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach."
# 27044 | 2,522 words | 1 source | MLA | 2003 | US
Published on May 23, 2003 in Literature (English) , English (Argument) , English (Analysis)

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This essay provides an analysis of Matthew Arnold's haunting poem "Dover Beach." It examines the way in which the internal structure and rhythm of the poem, literary devices such as anaphora, alliteration, and assonance, and the symbolic images of the land and sea interrelate. The overall result is a profoundly melancholy tone that mirrors Arnold's theme that darker currents of despair flow beneath even the most placid of facades.

From the Paper:

"Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" (1851) centers on the image of the moonlit waters of the English Channel, an image that transcends its immediate physical setting to reflect broader themes of human struggle and private grief. In the mind of the poem's speaker, the ebb and flow of the tides come to symbolize much more than simply the pull of Diana's orb on Neptune's waters. The rhythm of the tides reflects the oscillation of the speaker's emotions, which range from peace and tranquility to passion and joy and finally to the overarching sentiments of melancholy and despair. The structure of the poem itself mirrors this ebb and flow of emotional currents, and its symbolic imagery builds throughout to culminate in the theme that for the speaker, all things bright and beautiful in this world merely belie darker currents of destruction, violence, chaos, and sorrow."

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