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Principally, Arnold was writing at a time when it was felt science had disproved religion, and as a result, Arnold creates this stunning image of the tide of faith pulling back from the coast of England, leaving it naked and vulnerable as a result. The conflict between science and religion is a massive one to analyse in Victorian poetry, and you might like to consider other works as part of this theme.
The second answer is very strong. Another way in which this poem reflects the Victorian situation is that it presents no very strong Romantic alternative to the loss of religious faith. There is no strong emphasis on the beauty and beneficence of nature, and although love between humans is mentioned, it is merely mentioned, rather than being fully celebrated. Arnold was living in a period when people had begun to lose faith not only in God but also in Romanticism.
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