Dover Beach Critical analysis || by- Mathew Arnauld

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Mathew Arnauld (1822 - 1888) was the most spiritual and natural poet among his contemporary poets like - Tennyson and Browny. Although he never attained a high degree of popularity and sanctity as these of his great poet, he could never be ignored all because of his naturalness and straightforwardness which he showed in his poem.   

         As a product of Victorian era, Arnauld shares the common features and the background of the time. Times were running hand in hand with new scientific inventions and discoveries. New theories were being propounded to challenge the old treditional method and practices. Many even challangedbt faith of man. Religion was facing strong opposition from science because the latter was evolving rapidly and capturing the imagination of ordinarybpeople in that daily life. The prospectives and their dimensions under went radical changes and people had to suddenly switch their sides from devotion and faith in god to newly found comfort of science.  

       Materialism had spread everywhere and comfort in life became the only priority. This resulted in lot of moral values. Commerce stated making life commercial and ethics excited quietly from life. In no time wealth and class started to control everyday life. These trends certainly emptyed human heart of all virtyes. Greed for wealth replaced faith. Selfishness in commercial competition made people so busy that they forget charity and kindness. Mathew Arnauld used this background to express his emotions through Dover Beach. 

        The poem written in 1867 is a dramatic monolog. A kind of poem in which someone delivers a speech and he listeners do not respond. It uses certain issues of life to criticise and comment. The poem is also very elegiac in its treatment. Because it speaks about feelingof sadness. Besides, the poet expresses despair resulting from hopelessness and frustration explained by humans. 
The poem is structured into  four different stanzas of unequal size and lines. Besides being a dramatic monolog , it does not have any Rhyming scheme. The language is very simple and licid. It does not havefinery of beauty as in normal romantic poem. Rather it employs different types of figures of speech like simili and metaphor , also contrasts to draw our effectiveness as if we are delivering the speech ourselves. 

        The poet is on a honeymoon mood with his wife at dover. He is standing beside a window talking to his wife while he deserve the general atmosphere present at the beach. It is getting dark and the moon is out in the sky, with full tide at the shore. The first half of the poem describes the natural beauty as observed from the window. Then the second stanza is an illusion to the classic age of Greeks. The third stanza speaks of the sea of faith. The last one is a request from the poet to his wife to be good and faithful. When the poem ends here, we get a very ironical message of world engaged in wars in the darkness of the night. 

         Then first stanza starts with the description of the sea. He says the sea is calm and the tide is full. The moon looks so beautiful in the sky. At the very start the poet gives enough indications of how he is going to use the sea and beach for his symbolic representation. First, he mentions the calmness of the sea. This is certainly a highlighted observation. Although the sea is huge vast and deep, it is very calm. Then , the tides are full because of the mon. This is the first understanding of the sea that night. Standing with his wife, he could visualise all things present in nature then. 

" The sea I calm tonight ,
The tide is full , the moon lies fair."

       The poet is very particularly observing and commenting on the beauty of nature. He is with his wife in a very romantic mood 😍😍😍😘😘😘. There could not have been a better way to look at the nature. To create an environment of romance assisted by nature. After a while the poet also sees there glimmering light across the French coast. There is beauty even in this. That the light gleams over the seas at the horizon. It glimmers and then immediately it dissapears. This on an off appearance of light shining on the seas is indeed a make of natural beauty. 
         The poet admires how things look so grand and pure at the dover beach as they stand by the window  among the English cliffs, they could easily feel the vast ocean right before them. There is so much of tranquility. There is sweet air at night by the sea shore. These are natural things. At night when the sea is calm and when the people retgire to their beds. In the moonlight when the land is blanched the sea quietly meets the land ; there isn't anyone to enjoy this beauty there. but the poet and the wif do witness this eternal joy arising from the calm sea. there is so much peace around with the sea gives to them. "Out in the tranquil bay (Shore) come to the window, sweet is a night air." 

        All of a sudden, the poet requests his wife to listen the voice comming out of the tranquil nature. Generally we are so busy in the humdrum of life that we fail to  notice the most pobvious thing around us. We get distracted by various cares of life. Certainly in these circumstances we are surrounded by noise only. As such the eternal note is ignored. but then, here we have a beautiful example of how we can be one with nature and build up  a special relationship with it. 
first, the poet says, one can hear the grating reole of pebbles. the waves when they drawback and forth create such beautiful sound. and make us realise that there is music everywhere and that this music sooths us(COMFORTS). Then the poet again reminds his wife to look at these realities of nature. these waves begin and cease (end) and again begin again. However when you listen to their sounds, you hear sad music of humanity. The poet is slowly getting his point and he makes attempts connect how she behaves in the confused victorian era. now, Arnault steps into and sais that something is wrong because the sea brings eternal note of sadness. 

"Listen ! you hear granting roar of pebbles...
and bring the eternal note of sadness in"

        Now we come to the second stanza in which Arnault refers to the classic age through illusions. It was observed by the critics that Mathew Arnault loved being classic in his poetry. He reffered to many events and people to bring special meaning to his poetry. Even in this poem classicism, when he meantions of Sophocles, a Greek tragedian of his time.

         Sophocles as a tragedian had written tragedied hearing the same eternal note of sadness. arising from the sea. he had heard these notes on the Aegean shores (Greek Shores). He had observed how these notes symbolised the disturbed sea. Reflecting the human misery. He had written tragedies to indicate the degradation of moral values of the time. he was inspired by the sea. likewise, Mathew Arnauld also hears the note of human mistery in victorian era at Dover Beach. The sea gives him this though that his time was going through loss of faith and this had eroded the homan value. This is what he heard comming from the sea.

"Sophocles long ago,
Heard it on the AEgean, and it brought ...
of human mistery ; we
find also in the sound althought,
hearing it by this distant northern sea."

         The third stanza brings  us into the focus where in the poet was trying to build up his argument. we have a grand metaphor. The sea of faith. We have compatison to be noted here - Sea and Faith. All features of sea must be brought into context. If we want to understand this equation of faith being sea and vice - versa. Faith is an action of belief and trust which is humen expression. In all our relationship in the world we are guided by the emotions of faith. This is and it relates us in proper order of nature. Its like the gel which connects two different things. Without this cohesive object we canot properly relate with anything around us.

         Mathew Arnauld wants to take up this aspect of ourlife while he discusses faith in our day to day life. the sea is deep and vast. or faith needs to acquire this deep features. To have a happy and a victorious society. the moral values are built on this aspect of faith. People would speak truth beacause they believe in being truthful. People would show kindness and justice because they believe that being kind and just is necessary. People lost meaning in being morals. The certitude of morality became casual. Therefore when he sees the deep sea he understood how the sea is giving him a melancholy sound. It reflects faith getting degraded among people. Faith was once very common and deep. But now the victoran era has eaten up mans conscence and they became corrupt and evil.

"The sea of Faith was once
to at the full ... but now I
only hear its melancholy, long,
withdrawing roars, retarding"

         Once, when the sea was vast and deep, it would play with the shingles (pebbles) on the shore. But now the waves are retreating and this leaves behind the shingles naked on their own. The shingles like lonely humanity need the vast and deep ocean to protect them just like all the lands and girdles (using belt) surrounding by the seas. The Victorian needd this girdles of faith to build them in one voice of faith.

         In the last stanza, the poet turns back to his beloved. So far he was looking at nature trying to show how natural beauty at Dover Beach spoke about some grim realities. But now, Arnault addresses her and wants to get Assurance from her. Having spoken about the loss of faith in the world he requests her in very sad tone. That they should be true to one another.
In demanding this assorance from his beloved, Arnault does mention the reason behind his intention. He says that the world in certainly a land of dreams. It is so vibrant with its diversities, It is very beautiful and new each day. But lets not forget that these have to reflect in our daily life. this understanding of beautiful world of dreams must make us true people of the earth. There should not be any moral turpitude (morally bad). 

"Ah, love, let us be true
to one another ! for the world,
which seems ...
Land of dreams so various, so beautiful
so new hath neither joy, nor love,
nor light, nor certitude, nor peace,
nor help for pain."

         Towards the end them Arnault makes all his thoughts very clear that the world is hardly what it used to be. Rather it is just darkling playing, swept with confusion and allowance of struggle and flight. It is a place where every ignorant person is busy fighting his own battle at night. This is waht he called loss of Faith. If there is no faith, there is no peace, If our trust is weak, there is no joy. In brief Arnault depicts how our human race has gradually struggled to uphold moral values. Without them we are all but finished. 

        To conclude, "Dover Beach" is a marvelous display of what had gone wrong in the Victorian era and stange enough it is still happening in our time. We are all part of this poem and it calls for deepning of faith and for sustenance of morality.

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