A Dream Within a Dream Analysis

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A Dream within a Dream By Edgar Allen Poe

The poem “A Dream within A Dream” by Edgar Allen Poe is about how it feels to lose your hopes and your dreams all at once in a very sorrowful and frustrating manner. In the first stanza he is asking the reader if it matters that his purpose, motivation, and his love has been taken away by life itself and whether or not it was worth it. Although, with the lines “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream” has the meaning that what he thinks is real and is able to be grasped is not real at all and perhaps an illusion. In the second stanza, he is saying that whatever he wants to keep a hold of is torn from his hands by another force, such as the wave which he is speaking of in line 11. Then he asks God whether or not it is possible to keep hold of something that he actually wants but in turn is it real at all, the pain that he feels towards the sorrow of losing a loved one(s).

There are several metaphoric meanings within this poem. The entire poem carries a metaphoric meaning. The poem refers to sorrow, suffering, pain, and emptiness. If you think of Edgar Allen Poe’s life, he lost his mother and also his bride, which was his cousin, to tuberculosis and his foster mother to brain tumors. In addition to that, many of his other family members were lost to him in tragic ways. He had a very hard life in general with losing all these people and that is the meaning behind this poem. So throughout the poem he is asking why he cannot keep the things he loves without them being torn from his grasp by death. The grains of sand which he is referring to is a metaphor of the people he is trying to hold onto, but yet is being ripped away from his hands by the “pitiless wave” which is a metaphoric meaning for death. He refers to God, asking why he cannot save them from the wave and why he cannot hold onto them tighter as to keep them safe from death. In the first stanza, the line that says “and, in parting from you now,”...
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