Dover Beach Questions and Answers
by Matthew Arnold

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How is "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold a dramatic monologue?

"Dover Beach" is a dramatic monologue because the speaker is addressing a companion who is part of the scene but does not answer back. Lines that cue us to the presence of this beloved companion include "Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!"

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A dramatic monologue is a poem that is dramatic because there are at least two people in its setting, as if it is a play. It is a monologue because only one person speaks, addressing another, who remains silent throughout (if the other person answered, the poem would become a dialogue).

We know this is a dramatic monologue because the speaker addresses someone else. Since the setting is the beach at Dover where Arnold spent his honeymoon in 1851, it is often understood that the listener is the speaker's bride.

Early on, the speaker beckons his beloved to stand by him at the window and view the sea with him, addressing her by saying:

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!

Later, the speaker says to his companion:

Listen! you hear the grating roar ...

Finally, the speaker concretizes that he is speaking to his beloved by addressing her as "love":

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another!

In addressing his beloved, the speaker sets the scene, describing the sea lit by moonlight. The setting is...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 951 words.)

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quddoos | Student

I would agree with you. The poem is certainly a monologue, but not really a dramatic monologue, since it lacks the element of a speaker distinct from the author. But this is all in the definition, since some people don't regard the distinct speaker as part of the definition of a dramatic monologue. Terms in literary criticism don't necessarily have the precise and agreed meaning that terms in biology or math do.