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Man is plunged into a society of waning faith throughout the world. Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’ remarks on how science has unearthed a lack of certainty among humans, this has always caused a situation of humans to question faith. The poet has further reinforced that this situation will never change, and the misery due to doubting faith will be there. ‘Dover Beach’ explores the situation that humans were in throughout history, and it makes us aware of the effects if humans were left in the dark, and covered in uncertainty. Believing, and having faith can drastically change the way we see the world in the past, present and the future. Arnold has established an image of the past when everyone had so much faith. The imagery of the “tranquil bay,” and with the sea being “calm to-night” creates a peaceful atmosphere, and lulls the reader into visualizing a calm bay. The reason for this is that both the adjectives have similar connotations of peace. He reconfirms the longevity of this tranquillity as he further describes the scenery; he explains that the Limestone cliffs are “glimmering and vast.” This glimmer symbolizes that short moment of peace, or more likely faith that humanity has once grasped in the past. He reveals that when humanity had the same faith, the Earth was viewed by us being full of quality, texture and diversity. However, in Arnold’s time, there were frequent questioning about faith, due to Darwinism and other scientific theories. That was the situation humanity was in when we had faith that wasn’t shaken by scientific advancements. Faith causes us to view things in another way, it helps us determine moral choices and how we behave; it is vital. Faith is our breaks to immoral behaviour, without it, humans will be eager to experiment and push the moral boundaries to the limit to experience corrupted behaviour. Arnold now has shattered the peaceful image portrayed in the first stanza, the “gleams” is now transformed into a “moon blanched land.” The adjective “blanched” reveals to us a sense of emptiness. Arnold makes the readers sense that this land symbolizes the dullness of the human heart as humanity strives away from faith. He reinforces this concept by describing the sea making “ a grating roar,” Arnold wants us to “listen” to this sound. This “roar” makes us feel as if it’s a symbol of Arnold and others who believe humans are slowly moving away from faith, and because “roar” is a powerful verb it conveys their anger and desperation to make others listen, and convince them to their ideas. Just like the waves “begin, and cease, and then again begin,” the repetition emphasizes he will never give up hope that one-day people will realize the mistake they are making. Arnold symbolizes the hardship of humans, rejections and embarrassment as the “eternal note of sadness.” Even though the beauty of the new world maybe attractive, the “note of sadness” will always be obscured beneath the beauty. The depletion of faith is a common barrier man faces, this problem has been with us throughout humanity and continues to exist today. Arnold mentions “Sophocles,” an Ancient Greek playwright who wrote tragedies on faith. By referring to this name, Arnold has accentuated the idea that this was a frequent situation humans were in from thousands of years ago, and now we see humans have never really changed throughout history. Arnold argues that in times “of human misery,” we need faith to guide and protect from the dark corners of our lovely world that lays hidden in our naked eye. The “misery” of the world will never withdraw, it will cling onto us and never let go, so we need faith to relieve the pain. Faith is like a cloak that protects us, it makes us stronger and secured from the shadows of the world. Humans want something that can make them feel protected, and give them certainty, however the scientific movements in the 21st century has trembled our faith, it made us question things that were believed as real in the past. Arnold replies that faith is the answer. He introduces with one of the most memorable metaphors in the English literature. “The Sea of Faith” represents the endless and overflowing faith that we once had. But, the faith of humans are “retreating” in a “melancholy, long withdrawing roar,” it gives Arnold pain to see this happen, due to the choice of adjectives and a verb, which all have the connotations to saddens. Arnold states that we are in a situation that even though we
but also on the future impacts on humanity if faith starts to become non-existent.cannot see the visible impacts. making the adjective “ignorant” a perfect word to describe us. Finally. For this reason. . which therefore creates an atmosphere of secrecy. nor help for pain. nor peace. it rather has “neither joy. nor love.” however the reality is that it is only a hazy illusion.” and “nor certitude. it is slowly deteriorating our protection.” the time where there is likely to be confusion. The situation that humans are faced in modern society is the fact of losing the strong bond we once had in faith.” Here. the beauty of the Earth. we cannot see what we are doing and what huge impact it has on humans if we take a leap away from faith. nor light. leaving the world exposed and open to wounding due to the absence of faith. Arnold criticizes us as “ignorant armies” that “clash by night. mankind will lose the light to guide our pathway of life. Arnold wants us to ponder about not only what modernism can bring to the eye. causing humans to forever wander in the dark. The world humans live in today contains an absence of faith resulting in a place being full of violence.” This repetition of “nor” emphasizes the contrast of what we see. Matthew Arnold’s ‘Dover Beach’ conveys the various challenges humans may face if we continue to doubt faith. Arnold illustrates and illuminates the image of this world being a “land of dreams. Without faith. Arnold is conveying that we were and will be always emotionally and mentally blind. he mentions that the time of day is “night. and uncertainty.