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Dover Beach Themes
Little Words, Big Ideas
Man and the Natural World
"Dover Beach" is practically overflowing with deep philosophical thoughts, but they are all launched by and rooted in the natural world that the speaker sees all around him. As the speaker pays att...
Okay. "Dover Beach" isn't a total bummer. There are definitely moments of love and beauty and pleasure mixed in there, too. But Sadness with a capital S is threaded through everything, and it reall...
"Dover Beach" doesn't give you a pretty Disney-fied view of life (although maybe that's not fair to Disney—we're still a little freaked out by the beginning of Bambi). The speaker confronts the p...
Maybe "Dover Beach" isn't so much about spirituality as it is about the feeling of losing it. The speaker looks back longingly to a time when people were more spiritual, when they had more faith in...
Life, Consciousness, and Existence
Matthew Arnold's strategy for "Dover Beach" is something like "go big or go home." He doesn't restrict himself to little issues, or a moment in time, or fleeting feelings. No, he deals with the Big...
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