Washing Away Religion

759 Words4 Pages
Washing Away Religion As time goes on, religion plays a continually decreasing role in human society. Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach is a clear example of this as this poem is considered “[t]he most celebrated of [Arnold’s] works … [which] addresses the decline in religious faith in the modern world and offers the fidelity of affection as its successor (Dover Beach). In Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold, the main idea of the loss of faith in God in human society can be seen throughout the entire poem. To make more sense out of Dover Beach, one needs a general idea of what happens within the poem. The poem starts off with “the speaker … [standing] at a window describing the beauty of the seashore to his companion.” (Napierkowski, Rose, & Ruby 51) As the poem goes on, “the…show more content…
To Arnold, religion was the “constant preoccupation and true centre of his whole life” (Willey). For this reason, the main theme of this poem is the loss of faith in God in humanity. In Dover Beach, “[T]he sound of the sea, [reminds] the speaker of the ‘ebb and flow of human misery’, [and] the speaker conjures a metaphorical contrast between the days of belief and the present age. While formerly the ‘Sea of Faith’ was ‘at the full’ providing man with certainty and hope, now the sea is ‘retreating, to the breath / Of the night wind,’ exposing a dreary and naked world.”(Napierkowski, Rose & Ruby, 54)

In Dover Beach by Arnold, the main idea of the loss of faith in God in human society can be seen throughout the entire poem. From the sadness to nostalgia of days past to companionship, this is evident. As Arnold said, without religion “...the world, which seems / To lie before us like a land of dreams, / So various, so beautiful, so new, / Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; / And we are here as on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, / Where ignorant armies clash by
Open Document