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Dover Beach

Dover Beach


by Matthew Arnold

Dover Beach Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Can the world really be all good or all bad? Is that what this poem is saying at the end, or are things more mixed than that?
  2. Some critics have called this poem's outlook "modern." Does that sound right to you? Does it seem like this poem is clicked into the way the modern world works, or does its perspective seem outdated to you? Are these critics referring to Modernism?
  3. When do you think your best thoughts? Is it when you're out in nature? In the shower? Waking up from a nap? Are your thoughts inspired by particular things you see and hear?
  4. Does the love of two people really matter in the grand scheme of things? How does our speaker seem to feel about that?
  5. When you look at the world around you, do you tend to see chaos, or order? What about the speaker of "Dover Beach?"
  6. Do you agree with the speaker that there is less faith, less belief in the world than their used to be? If so, does that seem like a bad thing to you?
  7. Does human life get better or worse as time goes by? Is that even the right way to think about it? How might this poem help us to think about the arc of the past, present, and future?

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