The sea of faith

Images are present in everybody’s life. Without image, our life would be dull and plain. Everything that we see, hear, smell, or taste brings something to our minds. The picture that is brought to our minds might be associated with one’s experiences and memories. Authors of all types of literature, including stories, biographies, autobiographies, and poems, often incorporate a variety of literary devices, such as imagery, into their works in order to express certain feelings, themes, and ideas.

In poetry, a poet might use the descriptive words to create a visual ‘comparison’ or a link, which would enhance the reader’s understanding of a poet’s work. Imagery can be various. The poet might choose metaphors, simile, or personification. Which image he or she will choose depends on which one is best to express their feelings. In the poem, “Dover Beach” Arnold Matthew presents images using sight and sound; In “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, Dylan Thomas uses many metaphors, and Sylvia Plath in her poem “Mirror” uses personification.

All three poems are full of images, which are used to enhance the meaning of their poem. It also helps the poets to express their true feelings and emotions. In “Dover Beach”, Arnold Matthew creates a desired mood of the poem through the usage of different types of images. Arnold appeals to the sense of sight in the first section of the first stanza of the poem. Arnold presents mental pictures, actions, sights seen by the men in the poem. The man is looking out the window pondering the sound of the pebbles tossing in the waves.

The man arrives at the vision of humanity being helpless against nature. The poet starts with the descriptions of the “calm sea”, “fair tide”, and the “vast” cliffs, which create a calming, innocent appearance. This sets the mood of peace and contentment which the speaker feels when he gazes out upon the sea. “Come to the window, sweet is the night-air” (Arnold, 1137), gives the reader the impression of a cool, summer night. From the image of sight, the poet switches to the image of sound in the second section of the first stanza.

Arnold describes, “The grating roar of pebbles, which the waves draw back”, with “a tremulous cadence” (Arnold, 1137). This portrays the image of an imaginary battle on the land of Dover. Arnold writes of the horrible sound of the pebbles beating away at the land. The pebbles are eroding the land away, which the speaker thrives off and adores. Arnold illustrates the man’s internal battle with the land destroying his home and him being helpless to its destruction. These descriptions add “the eternal note of sadness” (Arnold, 1138). In the second stanza of the poem, Arnold speaks of human history.

He writes of Sophocles hearing the “eternal sadness” on “the Aegean” with its “turbid ebb and flow” (Arnold, 1138). This appeals to the sense of hearing and causes the reader to almost hear powerful waves crashing to the land below. Sophocles saw the waves as sounds of “human misery” (Arnold, 1138). Arnold is portraying the parallel thought between the speaker’s feelings and Sophocles same sadness over the changing of the land. The poet uses this writing to exhibit the conflict between the land and the sea, and how more than just land suffers from the destruction.

The third stanza speaks of The Sea of Faith. If the sea is humanity’s religious faith, then the “earth’s shore” portrays the irreligious world, expanding as the sea’s tide, having turned, retreats. In the next stanza, The Sea of Faith, which lays like a belt around the earth’s land, becomes “… world which, seems / To lie before us like a land of dreams” (Arnold, 1138). Religious faith becomes a dream. “The Sea of Faith was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore” (Arnold, 1138), describe the erosion of the land as well as the loss of faith.