“Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold

“DoverBeach” by Matthew Arnold

“DoverBeach” is a lyric poem written by Matthew Arnold. The poet sets thepoem near Dover Sea, which is located along the southeast coast ofEngland. It is believed that Arnold was motivated to write this poemafter spending his honeymoon in the Dover Beach in 1851. Arnold madethe first draft while overlooking the English Channel near thecoastline of France. In the poem, Arnold represents the speaker whilehis wife represents the listener. However, any man and woman, mostlyin love, can represent the two figures in the poem.

Thepoems commence with a naturalistic scene with a romantic tradition.The poet recognises the status of the sea for instance, he says thatthe sea is calm, the tides are full, and the moon lies fair (Arnold,26).Arnold understands the significance of using simple and elegancelanguage. In addition, Arnold tries to capture the beauty of theocean and the connection the struggle and existence of human life.The speaker changes his moods dramatically just as the sea changesits moods. In the first stanza, there is a peaceful and amusingatmosphere. Whenever the tides become vigorous, it represents thetime when life is harsh and full of problems.

Thispoem has a significance setting to demonstrate the joy and the beautyof the world, as well as misery and sadness that accompanies it. Thespeaker relates this experience with the nature of the ocean.Further, he divides the poem into two aspects soundscape and theactions of tides. Arnold(45) compares the sounds of the seas with sadness. He uses moon, sea,night to illustrate surreal experiences that are sensual andmysterious. At some instance, the sea is calm while at other times itis cruel.


Arnold,Matthew, and Jonathan Middlebrook.&nbspDoverBeach,.Columbus, Ohio: Merrill, 1970. Print.