Dover Beach: Beauty Hides Pain Poet, Matthew Arnold, presents a very real theme of love in his poem, Dover Beach. Where he creates a scene of beauty among the sea and shores, mixed with night and moonlight, he also is presenting us with the underlying misery, which is easily over looked and disregarded. Arnold writes, really, of love and loss, and relates it to beauty with hidden misery. The first stanza of the poem paints a picture for the reader of beautiful nighttime off the shores of England and France, where the water and the moonlight reflect each others beauty. The sea is calm tonight / The tide is full, the moon lies fair / Upon the straits; (1-3). But, as the poem goes on, Arnold reveals the same secret misery to the reader that the scene eventually reveals to the speaker. He talks of the surface beauty of the world that disguises what has happened in the past. This is Arnolds way of expressing to us that love is love because of all its beauty, happiness, and perfection. But, only certain loves are true, so in other words, like the world holds much sadness in its history, love as well becomes saddened or lost, or holds great potentials to be saddened or lost. on the French coast the light / Gleams and is gone; (3-4). The French coast has a sadder history because of the French defeat in the battles, which Arnold writes of. The coast of England has the same sad essence because of the losses of life, but the English were not defeated, so, in turn, the cliffs of England stand, Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay (4-5). Like the light on the French coast Gleams and is gone, so does love that ends. It shines and brightens peoples loves until it fades out. In the other situation, the shores of England maintain their brightness, glimmering forever over a calm bay. This is a love that never dies, but always shines, forever, over tranquil…
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