(1822-1888) was a brilliant poet, cultural critic and was Her Majesty’s
Inspector of Schools. When not inspecting schools, Matthew would write poetry
and was invited to Oxford to read them on many of occasions. One of his most
well know writing is Dover Beach, written around 1850 and published in 1867.
Within this poem is many literacy devices ranging from simile and metaphor to
rhythm and style. His childhood, career, and his writing has made a significant
impact on how Matthew stands out in the literary world.
Matthew Arnold was born December 24, 1822 in Laleham,
Middlesex, England. He was the son to Thomas Arnold, a well-respected
headmaster of the Rugby School. In 1828, Thomas Arnold got the job at the Ruby
School and Matthew was then enrolled in the fifth form (secondary school in
England). Matthew excelled in the Ruby School with straight A’s and earning
many accomplishments. In 1838 he won many school prizes by writing the best
English essay’s and writing English and Latin poems. His most famous poem at
the school was, “Alaric at Rome”, and was printed in the school’s newspaper.
Soon after that he won an open scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford. There,
he studied and graduated in 1843 with a 2nd class honor’s degree in
Literae Humaniores. He then went on to publish is first book of poetry called,
“The Strayed Reveller”. Shortly after,
Matthew married Frances Lucy, daughter of the famous Sir William Wightman,
Justice of the Queen’s Bench. Mathew would have six children who all went on to
do good things. In 1851, Matthew was appointed Her Majesty’s Inspector of
Schools, and would travel all around England inspecting the performance and
criteria of the teachers teaching. After retiring from his job of inspecting,
Matthew would then spend most of his time doing what he loved, writing poetry.
Then in 1867, Matthew’s most famous poem was published, Dover Beach.
Dover Beach is a difficult poem to analyze, with its fourteen
lines of image, metaphors, allusion, analogy and many other literary devices
that all fold up to make it one of the most interesting and thought out poems
of its time. Matthew used metaphors, allusion, and analogies when he illustrated
that “the sea” had a bigger meaning to it than just itself. In the first line
of “Dover Beach” they use the sea as a simple image not really meaning anything
but just having a clear, calming mood set in the poem. The image of “the sea”
gets more intense in Line 8, where Matthew makes the reader spend more time imaging
the sea and its rough but calming nature.