Emotions in O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman

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The poem, "O Captain! My Captain!" by Walt Whitman re-imagines the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by using emotions filled with shock and regret of losing a father figure. Walt Whitman has a patriotic attitude towards this poem as he describes Abraham Lincoln and all that he did for America by using imagery to develop a scene similar to the reality. The poet conveys his deep admiration for the achievements of Abraham Lincoln. Whitman shares his form by using a physical way of laying out and his attitude through the use of sound devices such as the iambic meter and the use of amphibrach. He also used repetition as a part of his sound device, to give reader more insight of the sorrow emotions that he has regarding Abraham Lincoln.

Whitman uses the iambic meter of his poem to convey the intensity of his admiration for Abraham Lincoln. He uses mainly iambic meter in his poem but breaks from it when announcing Lincoln's name. He mostly uses iambic meter to convey his poem but sometimes uses the quote "O Captain! My Captain!" (Walt Whitman, lines 1 and 5). This quote breaks from Whitman's iambic meter to create a point of difference and highlight the significance of this 'Captain' to the people waiting on the shore and to the speaker too. The poet is trying to deliver a statement that this man is different from any other person and therefore he stands out from the crowd and is a very unique individual. The use of the iambic meter portrays the poet’s attitude of patriotism and his regards for Abraham Lincoln. The amphibrach that breaks loose from the iambic meter gives reader an idea of how important the captain is and the people who are anxiously waiting for his arrival after the captain's heroic battle. The sound device used by Whi...

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...ude towards the poem. Whitman used the iambic meter mostly throughout the poem but breaks from it when announcing Lincoln's name, giving the reader an idea of how great Abraham Lincoln is and is a different human being that stands out from the crowd. The repetition of the quote "Fallen cold and dead" allows the readers to recognise the regretful emotions that the poet is trying to convey. Whitman structures the layout of his poem to show the sudden change of emotions that he's going through, from happiness to concern and finally to sadness. These literary techniques relate back to the theme of the re-imagination of the events that took place, when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated through the use of an allegory.

Works Cited

http://www.gilderlehrman.org/history-by-era/american-civil-war/essays/lincoln-and-whitman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Captain!_My_Captain!
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