How is love depicted as an anchorage in a chaotic world in Mathew Arnold's poem "Dover Beach"?

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charcunning eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The idea of a "chaotic world" is created through Arnold's choice in diction or word choice: "gone", "fling", "turbid", "misery", "distant", "melancholy", "roar", "naked", "clash"...all of these words are used when he is describing the world around him and each of them has a negative connotation.

He is able to depict love as an anchor or a force that binds the two lovers together through his use of compare and contrast. He has set up negative images of violence and chaos through his word choice and then contrasts that with the two lovers who, in spite of the pandemonium around them, are "here as on a darkling plain", together. The only solace they can take is in each other.

Compare contrast is used similarly to set up the world outside ("land of dreams") and the fact that it appears to be "so beautiful, so various, so new" (that's asyndeton, by the way, creating parallel structure) and then he reveals that it is all a facade, that it is ONLY a dream because in reality there is no "certitude" or "joy". The lovers have only each other to cling to as the world around them is lost in chaos.