PowerPoint By:
Nicholas Giurleo
Poet Biography: Matthew Arnold
 Date and Place of Birth: December 24, 1822
in Laleham, England
 Eldest son of Thomas Arnold and Mary
(Penrose) Arnold; his father was a historian
and the Headmaster of Rugby School
located in Rugby, England
 Received an education at Winchester
College , Rugby School, Balliol College and
Oxford University
 1828: his family moved from Laleham to Rugby
when Thomas Arnold received a job as
headmaster at Rugby
 1831: he was sent back to Laleham to be under
the care of his uncle John Buckland at his
preparatory school; he returned home and was
tutored along with his younger brother Tom
Poet Biography: Matthew Arnold
(Cont.)
 1838-1842:Matthew and his brother
produced a magazine twice yearly called
the “Fox How Magazine”; poetry from
Mathew was featured frequently
 Also at this time Matthew received his
secondary education at Winchester, Rugby,
and Balliol College; he received many
awards for poems he wrote such as
“Alaric at Rome” and “Cromwell”
 1842: his father unexpectedly died
 1843:graduated from Oxford with 2nd
Class Honors in “Greats” (a completion
of the classics course)
 The years after his graduation he spent
much of his time teaching at Rugby and
traveling through Europe (i.e. Wales,
Ireland, and France) after he received a
fellowship (a funding for additional
educational endeavors) by Oriel College
Poet Biography: Matthew Arnold
(Cont.)
 1847: granted the position of secretary by
a lord named Lansdowne who personally
knew Arnold’s father; Lansdowne was a very
generous employer to Arnold and gave him
many holidays which Arnold spent traveling
the European continent
 1849: anonymously published his first poetry
book, The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems
 1851: with the recommendation of
Lansdowne, he was promoted to inspector
of the schools of London by the crown
(Queen Victoria); he remained in this
position for 35 years
 Shortly after securing this financially
beneficial position he married Fanny Lucy
(Flu) Wightman; she was the daughter of a
judge; she bore Arnold six children; three
died in early childhood
Poet Biography: Matthew Arnold
(Cont.)
 During the later part of his life Arnold
began to devote more attention to
social and theological subjects; such
works included his Last Essays on Church
and Religion and the Church of England;
Arnold was a devout Christian who
concluded in his writings that
Christianity would survive because the
teachings of Christ addressed issues central
to the moral existence of mankind
 1883: receives a substantial pension from
Prime Minister Gladstone
 After receiving this pension he took two
lecture tours through the United States;
these lectures were published later as his
Discourses in America
 1888: he died suddenly while walking
with his wife to catch a tram (a trolley) in
Liverpool to meet his daughter who was
arriving by boat from the United States
Inspiration for Writing Dover Beach
Following his honeymoon with
his wife, Arnold and his wife
visited Dover, Kent, England,
and he had the inspiration to
write this poem after spending
time on the coastal beach with
his wife through the admiring
of the view of the Strait of
Dover…
Some events Arnold lived through (roughly 1822-88):
 1819—Queen Victoria is born
 1829—Catholic Emancipation, ends most restrictions
on Catholic civil rights, property ownership, & public
service.
 1834—Slavery banned in British colonies.
 1844—Irish potato famine begins.
 1848—Marx and Engels, Communist Manifesto.
 1851—First telegraph cable laid across the English
Channel
 1853–56—Crimean War
 1858—Government of India transferred to the Crown.
 1859—Darwin’s Origin of the Species.
 1868—Disraeli becomes Prime Minister
 1879—Edison invents the electric light bulb
 1901—Death of Queen Victoria at age 82
Speaker
 A male individual
on a beach near
Dover, England
(almost certainly
Matthew Arnold)
Audience
 A female
individual on the
beach listening to
the speaker; the
speaker loves this
individual (almost
certainly Arnold’s
wife Fanny)
Purpose
 To emphasize the message that
challenges to the validity of longstanding theological and moral beliefs
has harmed society’s faith in religion
Poem Type
 This poem is free verse
because it has no
defined structure (i.e.
no consistent rhyme
scheme) and the ideas
of the poem are broken
up into sentences.
Literal Meaning
First Sentence: (lines 1)
 The sea is calm to-night.
1. Tonight the sea is calm.
Second Sentence: (lines 2-5)
 The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
2. It is full tide, and the water
reflects the image of the moon.
The enormous cliffs of England,
like the French coast glimmer
brightly.
Third Sentence: (line 6)
 Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
3. Come to the window. The night
air is sweet.
Fourth Sentence: (lines 7-14)
 Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch’d land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.
4. Where the ocean meets the
land whitened by the light of the
moon you can hear the roar of
pebbles which the waves take into
sea and throw back to the land.
Again and again this happens in
almost a rhythmic way. It is quite
saddening.
Literal Meaning (cont.)
Fifth Sentence: (lines 15-20)
 Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.
5. I hear now the sound of sadness
that the ancient Greek dramatist
Sophocles once heard on the
Aegean Sea. Like Sophocles I too
hear a thought from the sea that
greatly disturbs me.
Sixth Sentence: (lines 20-22)
 The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.
6. Religion (Christianity) was once
wrapped around the world much
like how a girdle surrounds a
person’s waste.
Literal Meaning (cont.)
Seventh Sentence: (lines 23-27)
 But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.
7. Now I only hear the sad
withdrawing roar of the night wind
that blows down the vast and dull
gloomy edges of the world
8. But love, let us be honest to each
Eighth Sentence: (lines 27-34)
other. The world appears to be a land
 Ah, love, let us be true
of beautiful and new dreams,
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
however in reality it is not. There is
So various, so beautiful, so new,
no love, no peace, no joy, no light,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
and no compassion. Here we are on a
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
dark beach confused and lost
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, because around us the battle
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
between the ignorant forces of
religion and science fights on.
Figurative Language
Simile
Example: (lines 20-22)
 …The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.
 Sea of Faith (symbolic for religion)
girdle = surrounds/encircles
 Emphasis on symbolizing religion
Metaphor
Example: (line 20)
 …The Sea of Faith
 Faith
Sea =
flood/inundate
 Emphasis on symbolizing
religion
Symbol
Example: (line 1)
 The Sea = religion (Christianity)
Example: (line 8)
 Land = science
 The poem is an allegory for the
battle at the time between
religious conformity of the past
and scientific and rationalist
thought promoted by
industrialization and the Victorian
Era
Hyperbole
Example: (line 14)
 The eternal note of sadness
 Calling sadness an eternal note is
an extreme exaggeration
 Emphasizes the speaker’s sadness
for observing what he believes is
a symbolic representation of the
battle between science and
religion
Allusion
Example: (lines 15-18)
 Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery
 These lines allude to a passage in the
ancient Greek play Antigone, by
Sophocles. The eternal note of sadness
also is a reference to a line from this play.
 Arnold is possibly referencing that
Sophocles also experienced a sensation of
revelation similar to the one Arnold
experienced on the beach of Dover
Metonymy
Example: (line 15)
 Sophocles = tragedy
 Sophocles was essentially
the inventor of the play
type of tragedy because he
was one of the first
documented humans to
ever write a piece in this
type
Personification
Example: (lines 8-9)
 …[the] roar
Of pebbles
 Pebbles cannot roar; roaring is a
human trait
 Sensory detail that can also be
interpreted as metaphoric for
science making increasing noise
and becoming more apparent to
religious conformists throughout
the changing world
Synecdoche, Euphemism, and
Apostrophe
 Not present in this poem
Sound Devices
Assonance
Example: (line 2)
 The tide is full, the moon lies fair
 Sensory detail that
metaphorically represents the
security of religion prior to the
emergence of new scientific and
rational thought
Consonance
Example: (line 33)
 Swept with confused alarms of
struggle and flight
 Adds to the sudden change in
intensity at the end of the
poem which metaphorically
represents the panic organized
religion was facing by the
suddenly emergence of
developing scientific thought
Dissonance
Examples: (line 34)
 Ignorant
clash
(hard “g” sound) (hard “k” sound)
 Adds to the sudden change in
intensity at the end of the poem
which metaphorically represents
the panic organized religion was
facing by the suddenly emergence
of new scientific developments
Alliteration
Example: (lines 1-2)
 The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
 Sensory detail that adds to the
metaphorical representation of
the security of religion before the
emergence of new rational
scientific thought
Repetition
Example: (lines 1-2, 4)
 The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; -on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone…
 The use of this repeated verb helps to illustrate
the scenery; more sensory detail to add to the
metaphorical representation of the security of
religion before the emergence of new rational
scientific thought
Internal Rhyme
 Example: (line 12)
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
 Begin, again, and begin rhyme and
are all located in one single line of the
poem
 Emphasizes metaphorically the back
and forth struggle between religion
and science
Onomatopoeia
 Example: (line 9)
roar
 The word roar sounds like what it
actually represents
 Personifies the pebbles from line
10
Rhyme Scheme
 Not present in this poem
Fin.
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Dover Beach PowerPoint