EN226 Paper 1

Submitted By mared1121
Words: 1517
Pages: 7

Matthew Arnold: “Dover Beach” Interpretive Analysis “Sweet is the night-air!” (line 6). This poem begins with a peaceful serenity and allows the reader to visualize the moment. Then, as the poem progresses, the reader begins to feel negative energy being portrayed by the author. “Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,” (line 25), creates an unpleasant moment for the reader as they are moving through the play. Arnold’s work is trying to create a moment between two lovers, in which he emphasizes the importance of living for today. Although this poem starts out peaceful and moves towards negativity, it could be said that Arnold’s negativity stemmed from not enjoying each day as it comes. In the first stanza, Arnold portrays a perfect view from a window into the crystal clear ocean. As he is describing the view, Arnold is calling a woman to the window, whom is silent throughout the poem. Once she arrives at the window, it is portrayed that they observe the perfect view together. Arnold uses various types of punctuation throughout this stanza. In the first line, he uses a hyphen in between to-night, which could be used to create a pause in between each word. He also uses the hyphen with a semicolon in line three: “Upon the straits;-- on the French Coast the light”, it could be said that he is pausing in thought as he is gazing at the view from his window. There are several times throughout the poem that Arnold uses exclamation points, specifically in line six: “sweet is the night air!” and also in line nine: “Listen! you hear the grating roar”. The exclamation points are used to emphasize the imagery throughout the poem. After an exclamation point is used in Arnold’s work, he does not capitalize the following word. The word that follows the exclamation point is less significant than the word before it. In this stanza, inversion is used, in line two: “The tide is full, the moon lies fair”. Typically, this would be reversed, the moon is full and the tide lies fair; however, Arnold uses inversion to create confusion with his feelings and whether or not he knew how he was feeling. Another literary device that was used is personification. In line ten Arnold states: “Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling”, this is personifying the waves sweeping up the pebbles and throwing them onto the beach or even back into the water. Throughout the first stanza, Matthew Arnold uses second person point of view. In this stanza, the word you is the only point of view used, which is referring to the woman figure that is with him. In line three, there is an actual experience that is occurring “Upon the straits;-- on the French coast the light” is creating a mental image for the reader about where Arnold is and what he is describing. Arnold also describes an olfactory in line six: “Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!”, it could be said that he is describing the mixing smell of the water and the ocean. In the second stanza, Arnold references Sophocles, an ancient Greek and describes how he would view human unhappiness, and verses the way that Arnold feels about it. “Of human misery; we/ Find also in the sound a thought,” (lines18-19). This is stating that people can have misery within their own thoughts and create unhappiness for themselves. As Arnold is referencing Sophocles, he is using an allusion to what Sophocles would have thought many years ago. Throughout this stanza, Arnold refers to third person point of view and uses “he”, which is relating to Sophocles. When using “he”, Arnold uses this as his way of comparing his thoughts of unhappiness to the way in which he thought Sophocles would feel. In this stanza, there is an apparent rhyme scheme that follows: ABACBC. Arnold uses rhyming words such as ago and flow, brought and thought, we and sea. Although this may seem overwhelming, as a reader it is subtle. In this stanza, Arnold is portraying that humans are constantly unhappy and miserable, which makes the poem appear