The writer - Matthew Arnold was born in Victorian age in which people
no longer appreciated the beauty of nature but believed in new discoveries
of science. The faith of religious was being critical, too.
However, in this poem, the narrator was kind of mourning the fade of
faith in God. In the second and third stanza, the narrator compared himself
to Sophocles and both of them were listening to "the misery of human".
"The misery of human" referred to people at that time pursued science blindly
and forgot about the importance of nature inspiration.
In the first stanza, the sea was calm, but under it there were many
pebbles drew back and flung which made the "grating roar" and "bring the
eternal note of sadness in". The narrator was with his lover standing by
the window. He said, "Come to the window, sweet is the night!". He was
watching Dover Beach and felt the beauty of it.
By the time of conflicts between faith and discoveries of science,
the narrator whom can be referred to Matthew Arnold himself expressed his
affection to his lover and emphasized on "being true" for the world around
them was bad. "The Sea of faith" can be seen as the past Romantic age which
the narrator admired and "the ignorant armies" referred to the people at
Victorian age. They were ignorant to the narrator because they looked down
upon the beauty of nature which against the human nature. In the last stanza,
the repetition of "neither*nor" strengthens the narrator*s dislike of that
The writer thought "love" can solve problems at that time, it*s also
very important being true to the lover. I think Matthew Arnold was quite
right, for "love" is the basic need for human, especially for lovers. If
lovers couldn*t be true to each other when other people quench their true
feelings to fit the modern trends, then nothing is sincere. It seemed old
fashioned for Matthew Arnold to adore romance, but actually he was more
modern than other people at Victorian age. For he knew the faith in nature
and God cannot be changed even if science has its charms to influence people.
The Dover Bitch
"The Dover Bitch" was a reflection from "Dover Beach". The author Anthony
Hecht took a part in the love affair of Matthew Arnold and his lover-the
bitch. The poem begins with the conversation between Matthew and the girl,
"Try to be true to me*.". This is quite ironic for the narrator mentioned
later that "She is really all right. I still see her once in a while. *She
always treats me right. *And I give her a good time*" Anthony Hecht was
criticizing the importance of being true in love. No matter how hard and
sincere Matthew Arnold told the girl to be true, she was still a bitch.
From line 10-16, there was nothing but sex imagery in that girl*s mind
when Matthew was talking about "true". And she got bored about his topic.
The love in "The Dover Bitch" was in the 20th century which was very
different from the age of "Dover Beach". It*s true that there isn*t much
holiness in love today. "Being true" isn*t taken as an important element
in love anymore. If Matthew read this poem, he would be very disappointed.
Anthony Hecht didn*t scold this modernity of love in this poem, for
he said in the last sentence that sometimes he brings her a bottle of wine.
He is part of the modern world which is very different from Matthew Arnold.