Review Of ' Dover Beach '

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Sage Walund Gorra Arnold’s Dover Beach English 201 3/9/15 Doubt on Dover Beach: An Exploration of the Loss of Faith in the Victorian Era The Victorian age is marked by the sudden and startling changes it brought on the western world. As industrialization, intense colonization, and expanding practices of sciences abounded, the traditional ideas and ideals that had once seemed constant and true, were suddenly precarious. Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach” has become quintessential to the Victorian literary canon as it is exactly this struggle with a loss of constancy and the confrontation with the unknown and uncertainty that Arnold evokes within its lines. “Dover Beach” explores the potential effects of these sudden shifts in culture; particularly the shift towards scientific exploration and the threat this shift had on notions of Christianity and faith. The poem acts as a grand sweeping metaphor for the ideas of constancy and doubt as it lures the reader into a sense of permanence and complacency before undermining that sense by contradicting itself and implementing mistrust; ultimately it leaves the reader with a sense that since faith is not eternal, nothing is. This metaphor is enhanced and nuanced through Arnold’s interesting use of structure and sudden shifts in tone. The first stanza of “Dover Beach” consists of fourteen lines in iambic meter (though not iambic pentameter) with varying lengths and features a seemingly random rhyme structure of:
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