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January 16, 2009

Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"


Photograph by Alexander "Sasha" Volokh
Image Source: http://volokh.com/sasha/dover.JPG

Students,

If you chose this work of literature . . .

. . . leave your remarks in the comment box below.

Dr. Hobbs

Posted by lhobbs at January 16, 2009 10:58 AM

Readers' Comments:

Alicia Roddenberg
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA16
01-28-09
A Silent Misery
In this poem Arnold expresses the different emotions and thoughts established in regards to the rhythmic ocean waters. The specific water he talks about is at Dover Beach, in France. The water lays serene as the sliver of a moon glistens over the sweeping sea. Arnold uses personification to allow for the sea to become a character in which the reader is able to relate to. The manner in which Arnold uses to depict the ocean is capable of showing the “human misery” of something so beautiful and unknown (Arnold 245).
As you read it seems as if the Ocean goes through a growing process in which it no longer is looked at as this mystical mass, but as an almost eerie dreaded stretch. Initially the Ocean is introduced in its natural state using various words which are able to paint a specific image in the readers mind. “Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night air” demonstrates the attractiveness of the Ocean (Arnold 245). The different traits in this poem are what help the character to grow, such as “was once, too, at the full and round earth’s shore…but now I only hear its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” (Arnold 245).
The author uses the idea of repetition to develop an idea in the readers mind. When he discreetly describes the ocean as a character he uses different synonyms of misery and sadness. Arnold plays off of the waters beauty and symbolism of being an outlet for endless possibilities. “To lie before us like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful, so new” (Arnold 245).
In the second paragraph of the poem Arnold introduces another character, Sophocles. Sophocles is also aware of the power which the Ocean beholds. Sophocles’ agrees with Arnold’s attempts to show the true character in which misery in the vast ocean and takes it a step further and compares it with human like characteristics. “By studying what characters say about each other, you can enhance your understanding of the character being discussed” (Roberts 67).
Even though the poem “Dover Beach” has few characters, the Ocean not being the main one, is still the most influential to the proposed story. The way in which the Ocean is given human characteristics and qualities allows for it to be recount able and considered a full character. The Ocean holds many secrets within its unknown waters, things that may only burden those of its knowledge.

Works Cited
Arnolds, Matthew. “Dover Beach”. Writing about Literature by Edgar V. Roberts. Brief 11th ed.
Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2006. page 245
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing about Literature. Brief 11th ed. Saddle River, NJ: Person, 2006.
page 67

Posted by: Alicia Roddenberg at February 2, 2009 10:50 PM

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