Oh Captain My Captain Essay

791 WordsDec 16, 20124 Pages
O Captain! My Captain! Analysis “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman tells of the death of a adored sea captain just as a trying journey was being completed, and expresses the sadness of a sailor on the ship as he found out. Walt Whitman wrote this poem to express his own sadness at the death of Abraham Lincoln, a leader he had loved. “O Captain! My Captain!” is a poem of love for a great leader and sadness for the leader’s death, which Whitman expressed with a long metaphor. This poem works within the cultures disposition of the country by using an extended metaphor, emotions, and a rhyming scheme. This poem was written just after the end of the American Civil War. It is an extended metaphor for Abraham Lincoln’s death during that time and the American citizens’ response to his death. The poems beginning tells of the Captain’s success in leading his ship through a long and trying journey. The speaker in the poem shouts in delight at the Captain’s success of the journey and how close to the happiness they were. The second part of the first stanza, the narrator suddenly tells that the Captain is dead and how upset he is by it. The second stanza the narrator begs for the Captain to come alive again, hoping the Captain is not dead. He tries by saying “rise and here the bells” (9). The narrator grasps that his attempts are in vain and the Captain will not rise again. The second stanza ends with a statement that the Captain was “fallen, cold, and dead” (16), showing that the narrator is beginning to accept that his Captain will not rise. The first two stanzas are a metaphor for the rejection of Lincoln’s death followed by the mournful resignation to the truth of his murder, which the American people went through at the time. The third stanza is the difficulty of the speaker trying to make himself admit his leader’s death. This is done by looking closer at the

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