An Analysis Of Matthew Arnold's Poem Dover Beach

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“Dover Beach”:
In his “Dover Beach,” Matthew Arnold employs images related to the ocean to establish a theme relating to the cyclical nature of human life. Specifically, he refers to the continuation of misery throughout an individual’s life. This allusion to cycles is supported throughout the poem through the use of tidal imagery. For example, he refers to the French coast and how “the light gleams and is gone” (3-4) This is significant as light often works as a symbol of hope. Therefore, this line suggests that throughout an individual’s lifetime hope exists, but always fades away. This is further established when Arnold describes the tide, stating that it, “begin, and cease, and then again begin” (12). Here, he alludes to the human condition.
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Through his use of diction, Walcott demonstrates corrupt nature of societal norms in Africa. For example, he states, “I who am poisoned with the blood of both, where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (26-27). In this line, tension is created through the statement, “divided to the vein.” However, the reader sees this tension depicted as sickly through Walcott’s use of the word “poisoned.” This is further supported by line 21 of the poem, in which he states, “of the white peace contracted by the dead” (21). Here, Walcott uses the word “contracted” alluding to his condition as a disease. This is significant as it allows the poem to function as a social commentary. Walcott is speaking out against ideals and values that he perceives as corrupt, and even deadly. This is further established in the poem through Walcott’s use of juxtaposition. He states, “corpses are scattered through a paradise” (4). Here, he presents Africa as a country the is externally beautiful, yet internally corrupt. This is important as it functions to further establish the work as a social commentary on the values of the

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