O Captain My Captain Poem Analysis

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As a student of literature today I will be critiquing 2 poems and critically analysing the poetic devices used to explore the theme of death. O Captain! My Captain! Written in 1965 by one of America’s most important poets, Walt Whitman. Inspired by the death of American president Abraham Lincoln it is thought to be one of his most memorable and iconic poems. The second poem chosen is Funeral Blues written by WH Auden in 1940. Through the use of poetic techniques the poet of ‘Funeral Blues’ and ‘O Captain! My Captain!’ reflects upon the melancholic theme of death.

The tone that Walt Whitman conveys throughout the poem changes from triumph to despair as the poem progresses. Whitman relates the poem to the events he experienced after the civil
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The whole poem was written as an extended metaphor where the tone is evoked through the techniques of rhythm, repetition and metaphors. The first and second stanza addresses the metaphoric “captain,” Abraham Lincoln. As the poem progresses the final stanza recognizes that the captain of the “ship” is the leader of the country and the “victory” that the ship experiences coming into shore represents the end of the civil war that was won. Ultimately Whitman has successfully written the poem as an extended metaphor by the use of poetic…show more content…
The first two stanzas of the poem reflect upon elements of everyday life that are affected by the death of a loved one. Through an elegy poet wants others to feel his pain as “aeroplanes […] Scribble in the sky […] He is dead” and silence the world, making everyone mourn. In the last two stanzas of the poem the mood shifts to the poets’ grief and the tone becomes more cynical as “nothing now can ever come to any good”. The third stanza appears somewhat nostalgic when the speaker says, “he was my working week and my Sunday rest” as he remembers what it was like when the deceased was alive. Ultimately the poet reflects upon his grief creating a tone that is mournful and
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