Dover Beach Questions and Answers
by Matthew Arnold

Dover Beach book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How does the speaker's tone change through the first stanza of Matthew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach"?

Expert Answers info

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In the earlier lines of the first stanza the speaker's tone is one of pure enjoyment, peace of mind, and appreciation of beauty. He is standing at an open window enjoying what must have been a marvelous view--a view which would naturally remind one of the centuries of history associated with it. The first line, "The sea is calm tonight," suggests that the speaker himself feels calm. Then his tone changes with his mood when he becomes aware of the pebbles being rolled back and forth by the incoming and outgoing waves. It seems as if he is being forced to think about things he would like to forget about, at least temporarily. The stanza ends with the words

and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

It seems as if he cannot simply enjoy beauty, peace, and the intimate relationship he apparently enjoys with his paramour. Something always reminds him of the opposite. He is reminded that life was once simple and stable, but modern times have brought doubt and foreboding because of the loss of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 572 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now



Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write7,054 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business





check Approved by eNotes Editorial