Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Dover Beach" Matthew Arnold

This poem begins with a description of the sea. It is not until the sixth line of the first stanza that you realize that the speaker is talking to someone; commanding them to behold the beauty and fierceness of the nature that is outside of the window. Commanding the person in the poem is also commanding the audience to engage in the poet’s experience. The use of this devise encourages them to transpire outside of their world and fully engage in the time and space of the poet. Not only is the poet getting the audience to experience the ocean view with their eyes, but also with their senses. The poet is saying that when people want to experience nature they can do so with their whole being. By saying, “sweet, is the night air,” shows that we can feel, taste, and become emotionally and physically invested in the nature around us.

The poet goes on to compare the ocean currents it movement against the rocks to the human experience of the past, present and future. The poet compares the humans struggle to the movement of the waves that crash onto hard rocks. By mentioning Sophocles the poet is saying that each person goes through hardships and is able to be connected through their humanity. Just like the waves on the ocean that come back and forth and are controlled by the moon, people throughout time go through the same life’s experiences, one of them being love.

The language and the rhythm of the poem give the impression that as you read, you are moving back and for the on the waves with the ocean. The rhythm allows the poet to convey the ups and downs of life and the feelings of the senses that we experience as humans in life with others.

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