What is the meaning of the poem?


Dover Beach

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“Dover Beach” is Arnold’s best-known poem, for many reasons, not the least of which is the powerful conclusion. Arnold may have perceived a loss of absolute religious faith in his time, and hence he stressed the need for an intensive search to recover absolutes. “Dover Beach” reflects the loss of faith, while at the same time it stresses the need for integrity. Arnold’s speaker is unnamed. He most likely is an educated, thoughtful person, fully attuned to the intellectual (and particularly the religious) currents of the time. The speech begins as a kind of soliloquy, but by the middle of the first stanza the speaker is addressing another person, someone dear enough to be called “love” in the last stanza.

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