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Who is the speaker of “Dover Beach”? Is it Matthew Arnold or a character he created? What type of person do you think the speaker is?

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"Dover Beach" is a dramatic monologue and may safely be regarded as the expression of Matthew Arnold's innermost thoughts. The poem is an extended meditation on the status of religion in mid-Victorian society, but Arnold's thoughts are fragmented, diffuse, and not altogether coherent. Though expressed in poetic language, they are placed on the same level as our own. When most people think, they don't do so in neat, polished sentences, and Arnold is no different. Nonetheless, the poem does provide an insight into what kind of person Arnold is—thoughtful, serious, and perhaps a tad melancholy.

Arnold's ruminations are also brought down to earth by their close connection to his immediate natural environment: in this case, a shingle beach at night. It's instructive that Arnold chooses to express his thoughts not through a traditional poetic structure but by using an experimental form. It's as if he's floating a potentially dangerous idea, one with truly alarming repercussions, which the usual...

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