|Dover Beach -- Matthew Arnold
Background: The poem is written in the year of 1851, when after the
revolution in 1848, the countries in Europe are cruelly oppressed. The
wars are constantly happened.
Content: The first stanza (line1~5) shows the harmonious atmosphere,
the poet used the words such as- calm, fair, tranquil to indicate peace.
" Gleams and is Gone ".
Does " gone " imply that the peace will no longer exist? From line
1~5, it set the background, in line 6, " only " is a turning point, the
feeling begins to change after the word "only". The sound of the pebbles,
drawing back and flinging, " begin and cease, and than begin". It repeats
the action of tide, in addition, the pebbles are in a helpless position,
and they're moved, dragged by the wave despite their own will.
"Grating roar" sounds like the marching of armies. Why the cadence
tremulous? Slow? And then bring the sense of eternal sadness? It's the
poet's feeling by seeing the sight, hearing the tide, all these bring sadness
to the poet.
The second stanza leads us back to ancient time, in memory of the tragic
poet Sophocles in Greece, Sophocles once was arouse the feeling of sadness
by listening the wave on the Aegean, although time and space has been changed,
we still feel the same. "Turbid"ebb and flow is much like the turbid world,
it follows "Of human misery" what misery does human have is the saddest
one? War, may be?
In the third stanza, "The sea of faith" can be Christianity or some
belief or ideal which human possess, however, it declined. The poet used
the word "Melancholy, long, withdrawing, retreating" to show his own disappointment.
"Was" and those words " full" "round" contrast with "Now" "Melancholy,
withdrawing". Line 21 and 22 show the "Faith" "was" prosperous, "naked
shingles" leave the feeling of pity, decline, and sorrow.
The last stanza, why the speaker said "Let us be true?" Since the world
seems in disguise, it looks so various, beautiful, new like a land of dreams,
but actually rarely joy, no love, light, certitude, peace and no help for
pain. "Darkling plain", I think here it may be implied that war is like
a dark cloud cover where we are. "Confused alarm" "struggle" also shows
the sight of war. In the last line, the poet blamed the armies ignorant
for they spoil the peace destroys the happy land.