The Victorian Period
The Victorian period was filled with conflicts between faith anddoubt. There were many developments in the period such as scientific,religious and cultural theories, for instance, the Charles Darwintheory of evolution. The controversies contradicted their Christianbeliefs of the time. Various works of literature demonstrate theconflict between faith and doubt. Matthew Arnold is one of the poetswhose work, “Dover Beach,” delves deeper into the ambivalences inthe Victorian age.
“Dover Beach” was written in 1851 after Arnold’s marriage. Thepoem is emotional in nature. Arnold uses the first, second, and thirdperson perspectives in the poem. The shifts in persona seek toelaborate his personal challenges and those of co-observers (Arnold,n.d.). The primary message in the poem is the challenges to validatethe religious beliefs that have shaken moral aspects of people whoare torn between the scientific and religious pieces of knowledge.Arnold (n.d.) states that though there is a sea of faith, he doubtsthat it is slowly retreating to the breath or edge. It implies thatpeople are starting to lose faith in their religion due to theirdoubts from scientific postulates. Moreover, Arnold hopes that thelove between him and his wife is real because he believes that theworld is lying before them like the land of dreams. The scientificevolution and religion have led to conflicts between faith and doubt.People are uncertain whether to believe in the scientificadvancements or disregard them for their faith. Arnold (n.d.) statesthat they have been swept by the confusion of flight and struggle.Since he was a man of faith, he believed that their ignorance hadmisled them.
In conclusion, it is easy to propose that Arnold was a man full ofinternal religious crisis just like other Victorian people. Arnold’spoem is based on the importance of love in promoting faith andeliminating self-doubt. Faith is the only condition that canencourage people to survive any conflict in their life.
Arnold, M. (n.d.). Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold. PoetryFoundation. Retrieved 4 April 2017, fromhttps://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/43588
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