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Technical Qualities, Symbolism, and Imagery of "Dover Beach" In "Dover Beach," Matthew Arnold makes a dramatic monologue of the Victorian Era which reveals how perceptions could be misleading. Arnold communicates the subject of "Dover Beach" through three essential developments: the technical qualities of this poem itself, symbolism, and vision. The subject of illusion versus reality from "Dover Beach" reflects the speaker's sense of the incompatibility between what is perceived and that which truly is real. The technical qualities of this poem include rhythm and meter, rhyme, figures of speech, sound, and irony of the words. The mechanics alone do not explain why reality and illusion differ, but they really do help to explain just how Arnold sets the poem up to support the subject. The most prominent mechanisms incorporate the rhythm and the meter of the lines and the stanzas of the poem. Line 1 is a iambic trimeter: The sea/is calm/to-night. The gentle pulsating rhythm of the iamb mirrors the ebb and flow of the sea. The real words of the first line manifest this notion to picture a serene sea gently lapping at the shore. The second lineup, an iambic tetramater, additionally reveals a tranquil ocean. However, line 3 breaks the pattern and compels the reader to break their own rhythm. Line 3 includes: Upon/the straits,//on the French/Coast/the light. The line begins and ends with the iamb, but the centre is divided with an anapest. The anapest is a foreshadow of this tumult to come. The fourth line breaks up even farther with an anapest in the start, however, the fifth line calms the rhythm. Glimmering/and huge//outside in/the tran/quil bay. The rhythm recovers at the end of the first stanza, but the original trimeter has not. The amount of feet per lin...