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A Comparison of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and Prayer Before Brith by Louis MacNeice

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A Comparison of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and Prayer Before Brith by Louis MacNeice 'Dover Beach' by Matthew Arnold, written in 1867, and 'Prayer Before Birth' written in 1951 by Louis MacNeice share many similarities despite being written nearly on hundred years apart from each other. This essay will explore the issues and ideas that both poems share, in addition to drawing attention to some of the key differences. 'Dover Beach' is about the thoughts of a man on his honeymoon, who shares his sentiments about the suffering of the world and that fact that his 'love' is the only thing which is positive about his life. 'Prayer Before Birth' describes the thoughts of an unborn child, making a…show more content…
Matthew Arnold feels that mankind has always been aware of the essential 'human misery' that exists in the world, and refers to Sophocles to reinforce his point. It is appropriate for Arnold to have used Sophocles in the second stanza, as Sophocles has always written about human misery (his most famous tragic pieces being Oedipus Rex and Antigone); therefore this proves Arnolds point that human misery has been studied before. The persona in Matthew Arnold's poem seems to spring in part form the loss of spirituality in the world. He uses the metaphor 'The Sea of Faith' to describe the 'withdrawal' of people's belief in religion. Whereas it was once a 'bright girdle' is now in retreat and all that is heard is the 'melancholy, long, withdrawing roar' Although Louis MacNeice, makes a brief reference to religion, 'a white light/ in the back of my mind to guide me', generally there doesn't seem to be much help for the dishonesty and corruption in the world. 'I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me,/ With strong drugs dope me, with wise lies lure me,/ On black racks rack me, in blood baths roll me.' He fears being imprisoned, tortured, and manipulated. He wants to be forgiven for the sins that he knows he will commit, due to he fact that the world
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