The poems Dover Beach and Snake consider the same actions coming from the poet. Although these actions are differently conveyed the poems still have similarities but in the other hand many differences. In Dover Beach, throughout the poem it can be realized that Matthew Arnold creates a very drastic depressing tone, which he combines with the religious theme. The same thoughts are also analyzed in Snake, but the main difference is that Lawrence starts with an enthusiastic tone that in the end becomes also sad.
Matthew Arnold in Dover Beach transmits a cheerless feeling representing that he has lost his faith and that he is agnostic towards God. In the first stanza (lines 10-15), Arnold conveys that he is feeling sad and that there is a sound of human misery created with the slow flow of the waves: “Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,” “The eternal note of sadness in.” Arnold uses different language techniques such as metaphors, similes and personifications to create the tense and obnoxious feeling that the world is becoming unhappier at every moment. Arnold believes that people cannot rely on the world for love and that love can only be found in each other.
“Ah, love, let us be true To one another! for the world, which seems To lie before us like a land of dreams,” The poet makes an analogy of the dreadful mind of humanity with two armies fighting in the dark. This conveys us of the image that Arnold has of the world and that he judges to be correct. He links this with the (Battle of Epipolae) the Kydides. “And we are here as on a darkling plain Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, Where ignorant armies clash by night.”
In the other hand, D.H. Lawrence begins the poem Snake, creating an impression of laziness due to the heat in Sicily. Lawrence in the very start uses alliteration and sibilance which is used to emphasize the slow rhythm and the echo of the snake. “On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,” “In the deep, strange-scented shade for the great dark carob tree” While Arnold felt depressing at the very start of his poem, in the other hand Lawrence feels flattered that he had a visitor in his water-trough. Another difference that can be seen is that Snake maintains a fairly regular rhythm and Arnold in Dover Beach creates a alternating rhythm that varies with the come and go of the waves that reach the beach. Lawrence feels at this moment that the snake is maybe dangerous and he watches her so that he can decide what he should do.
“And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.” Lawrence also relates the snake to ancient times, he refers to her as a magical ancient power, that makes him confused without knowing what to do. Lawrence also believes that the snake is also confused and therefore she is quite thoughtful towards her attitudes. “And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a moment,” In the sixth stanza Lawrence hears a voice, which he describes as “The voice of my education…” that tells him to kill the snake. By this point of the poem there is a conflict with religious beliefs that makes Lawrence feel sad and confused; there’s also a change in rhythm of the poem, alike in Dover Beach. The difference then comes when Lawrence makes rhetorical questions to himself, weighing up the religious values.
“But must I confess how I liked him.” “Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity, that I longe d to talk to him? Was it humility, to feel so honored?” While in Dover Beach, Arnold does not cogitate the possibility that there is passion and love provided by the world we live in, Lawrence realizes that he could still find an noble emotion in the snake. Considering this thought with the help from the other voice that came from his conscience, Lawrence becomes uncertain in what attitude he should take. To emphasize the situation Lawrence contradicts himself many times, he is definitely an undecided and a coward person. In the other hand Arnold attaches all his actions to his ideas.
“And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid. But even so, honored still more” Lawrence in the end of his poem compares it with the rhyme of the ancient mariner, which talks about the albatross. Like Arnold compares his poem with the ancient Greek time, back then it was a glorious time in Greece in which people all believed that Greek Gods were those who should be respected.
“And I thought of the albatross, And I wished he would come back, my snake.” Both poets convey there feelings by characterizing and fully describing there surroundings, so that they can create a certain tension throughout the poem. Arnold uses some metaphors (e.g.: “The Sea of Faith”), with this he can emphasize what is going on and also to pass on to the readers how he is feeling. Similarly Lawrence also uses many different language techniques, but he uses tem in a larger frequency scale. Lawrence varies by using alliteration, sibilance, similes, emjambements and ambivalences.
I believe that Matthew Arnold and D.H. Lawrence have different ideas of life, from what I have read in the poems. Although they have a similar writing stile, they conflict in their ideas. As I’ve said before Lawrence has a great conflict in his ideas and in the emotions he conveys in his poems. His uncertainty towards his actions makes him a very contradictive person and conveys a confusing idea of what is happening next. In the other hand Arnold is a very methodical person and he expresses one idea in the beginning and finishes by supporting it. He doesn’t create many different ideas that would make him confused.