Dover Beach as A Melancholy Poem

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      Matthew Arnold is an acknowledged poet of Victorian England and very sincerely he depicts all the contemporary trends, traditions in his writing. One such element is called Victorian pessimism; where by it denotes the contemporary laws and conflict crisis in faith of 19th century England. Matthew Arnold was an eye witness to the gradual loss of faith in Christianity due to the impact of Darwnism and have industrial progress in all the the social-economic and cultural matters of every sphere in human affairs. Criticism of human life in Dover Beach conway the melancholy tone in social sphere.

A note of melancholy runs through the short lyric. The poet stands by the window looking over the English channel from Dover.
Dover Beach

      In the poem Dover Beach this same contemporary Victorian pessimism has been portrait. Arnold considered as the loss of faith among the common human beings of England. He describes the situation in a most negative and pessimistic way. The same world which one once upon a wild full of faith and love, today Arnold hears this various and beautiful world 'Hath' really neither joy, nor love, nor light and today the world appears to him as a place which has nor certitude nor peace, nor help for pain and chaos has overshadowed everything. This loss of faith and hope among humanity makes Arnold completely pessimistic and from there on the note of deep melancholy pervades entire poem.

      A note of melancholy runs through the short lyric. The poet stands by the window looking over the English channel from Dover. In the moonlight the French coast gleams for a moment and the cliffs of England stand out glimmering. Arnold watches the coming and going out of the waves, drawing back and bringing the pebbles on the shore. The tremulous sound of the waves recalls to his mind "the eternal note of sadness" which Sophocles heard it long ago on the Aegean. Arnold feels that once upon a time the world has full of love, faith, hope, mutual trust, love and many good virtues. But today the long withdrawing roar of of the waves gives to him nothing but melancholy. He watches that human beings are confused now, struggle and fight with each other, they are like ignorant armies who killed each other without knowing with whom is fighting and for what.

      In Dover Beach, Arnold laments the retreat of faith, and the confusion and chaos that have come in the wake of the loss of faith. He wants to find shelter in a positive faith. He is religious by nature. He discloses his melancholy preoccupation with the thought of the inevitable decline of religious faith; and he expresses his belief that in a successful love-relationship he may realise values to which the world is hostile. Since the loss of religious faith makes it impossible to believe that the universe is in some degree adjusted to human needs, he must seek in human lover for those values which cannot be discovered elsewhere. Moreover, the lovers must support each other. If they are to live in the modern world without disaster. Love is the only anchorage in this world of intellectual confusion and doubts.

      All these gradual imageries decay make the entire poem melancholic and pessimistic. Though yet we have a ray of hope, namely loving truly among the people, but in the final judgement the poet is said to have marvelously depicted every melancholic picture of humanity.

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