O Captain, My Captain

Topics: Rhyme scheme, United States, Walt Whitman Pages: 2 (694 words) Published: September 3, 2013
Taylor James
Mrs. Boatright
English 12
November 12, 2012

O Captain! My Captain!

Written in 1865 by Walt Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain” explains the death of a great and beloved sea captain after a very hard voyage has been completed. This poem captures the speakers emotions and the sorrow over the loss of the esteemed captain. Whitman wrote this poem to express his anguish and despair at the loss of Abraham Lincoln. The overall theme of this poem is loss and Abraham Lincoln saving the Union. This poem was written right after the conclusion of The Civil War. It is an extended metaphor for Abraham Lincoln’s death during the Civil War. The opening lines of the first stanza tell the reader about the success of a captain that led his ship through a long and hard voyage. The opening couplets of the first two stanzas establish a happy mood and then they are followed by shortened lines to show grief and sadness. The second stanza begins with a call by the writer for the captain to come back to life, showing that the author will not accept the fact that the captain is dead. The second stanza reinforces the feeling of distress over the loss of the captain. It begins with two celebrating couplets, then something begins to change because, unlike the rest of the poem, “bells” and “trills” begin not to rhyme. The second stanza ends with the phrase “fallen, cold, and dead,” showing that the author is coming to realize that the captain is really dead. These first two stanzas are a metaphor for the death of Abraham Lincoln and the people of America not accepting that he was dead. These first two stanza also express the sort of internal conflict that was happening in America during this time. The people of America were upset about the loss of Abraham Lincoln, but they felt joy over the end of The Civil War. In the the third stanza, the rhyming pattern is re-established but it is as clear as the rhyme, that the captain is dead. This stanza is sad and painful effort...
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