Analysis Of Oh Captain My Captain

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Walt Whitman wrote many great poems, yet while I read through a list of poems to analyze, one of his most popular poems caught my eye. “O Captain! My Captain!” has so many hidden meanings, as well as sentence structure and imagery. This twenty-four line piece of literary art has made its mark on history by describing the feeling of losing a friend, as well as a leader. This work is a great poem to expose readers to exploring the depths of the words written to interpret the hidden messages among them.
The true meaning behind this poem was for Whitman to express his admiration for President Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated twenty-one years before it was written. Whitman wanted to pay tribute by creating an ode to the late President. After
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The crew member tries to get the Captain to come back, using port full of citizens cheering for the Captain as a plea. Bugles are blaring, which means that he was victorious in his efforts, but sacrificed himself for his country. Now in line thirteen, the crew member says “Here Captain! Dear father!” (13) which means he was like a father to the crew; this also could be compared to how Abraham Lincoln was described as the father of the union. Although he was a “father” to the crew, in line fourteen the crew member holds the Captain’s head up. Now to me the way it reads to me is that the crew member is holding his head like a fallen secret lover. Whitman was known to have male company as well as male lovers; his notable lovers were Harry Stafford and Peter Doyle (Walt Whitman). Line fifteen and sixteen show that the secret lover wishes the Captain’s death wasn’t a…show more content…
Although the Captain is gone, the crew and ship are safe, so the Captain did, in fact, do what he was tasked with doing. Yet again, in the last three lines, the crew member, while in a celebratory parade into port still remembers that his fallen captain is still lying on the deck. Now that I think about it another potential meaning behind this poem could be that Whitman is trying to show that there is no absolute victory in a war. In every war, each side loses in a way. That really can put life into perspective; no matter how great the victory there is always going to be losses in any struggle. Maybe that “Captain” is just an intangible idea like for example the morality of a person. For example, imagine if a thief stole a purse, then he should technically lose some morality if there is a celestial being.
This poem just shows how great the talent of Walt Whitman really is. All of the imagery and structure of this poem are astounding. Like I said this was one of Whitman’s most famous poems and I can see why. Just reading the poem without looking for any hidden meanings is a refreshing experience. This is a great example of what the reader can find when they truly study the work and find alternative meanings behind a
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