Essay Example on The first stanza begins the metaphor of the ship








The first stanza begins the metaphor of the ship with the speaker calling out for his Captain in a celebratory tone The speaker sounds like he is a part of his Captain s crew and abroad his ship The Captain of the ship is presumed to be Abraham Lincoln given that a Captain and President are both positions of leadership In the first lines the speaker s tone sounds cheerful as he says that from their fearful trip the prize they sought is won 2 When taking a look at the context of when this poem was written the fearful trip the ship has just gone through is the American Civil War 2 This line also shows that since the speaker is celebrating their victory the speaker is in bias of the Union and not the Confederacy Here the patriotism is already beginning to be heard in the speaker s voice as he is expressing his pride having won the prize 2 His tone expresses the joyfulness of gaining victory just as the people in support of the Union at the time like Whitman were when having won the war The ship is a metaphor for the United States as a whole that has weather d every rack or in other words overcome the obstacles the war brought about 2 The first couple lines create the image of the ship appearing to still be in sail but very close to reaching the port where people are exulting 3 The country is near wrapping up the war officially and those in support of the Union are rejoicing over their victory Within the same first stanza there is a sudden shift in tone with the repetition of O heart heart heart 5

The speaker sounds as though his heart is in a lot of pain for the reason that on the ship s deck the speaker s Captain has fallen cold and dead 7 8 Having learned that the speaker s Captain has died the line s repetition of heart sound as if the speaker s grieving heart in much pain The poem at this point is alluding to President Abraham Lincoln s assassination which brought about much grief The metaphor continues through the second stanza as the speaker s mournful tone is grieving his Captains death even as the pride of their victory grows The second stanza shares the lines of the first stanza with O Captain my Captain however this time the lines sound like the speaker is lamenting rather than celebrating upon the death of his Captain The speaker desperately wants his Captain to rise up and hear the bells and see how the flag is flung for him 9 10 After having successfully completing the war Lincoln was taken away too soon to see how much the country appreciated his guidance The speaker s mournful tone shows how greatly he respects his Captain and how badly he wishes he were still alive to continue to guide his people The images of the shores a crowding show how his supporters were there to celebrate him as they anticipate the future with him leading their country into a better state 11 The stanza emphasizes the patriotism that their leader has stirred up in his people just having lost his life While the people celebrate the speaker is still in mourning The speaker illustrates his close bond with his Captain by calling him his dear father as he expresses his disbelief in this situation as some dream that his Captain has fallen cold and dead 13 16

The word choice of father shows just how much respect he had for his Captain 13 Fathers are figures that are treated with respect The respect in his tone when calling his Captain his dear father shows the reverence that exists for their leader 13 The metaphor comes to a close in the final stanza as the grief from the speaker continues yet the same patriotism remains The speaker s tone sounds more heartbroken at this point The speaker doesn t call out for his Captain anymore now that it has become clear that he is dead His lips are pale and still and he has no pulse nor will 17 18 At this point the speaker is coming to accept that his father the person he admires is gone With the acceptance of his death comes the end of the ship s voyage as it s anchor d safe now 19 Abraham Lincoln brought the country to a safer state and couldn t live long enough to help his new unified country grow and prosper It is reminded again that amidst the loss of a beloved figure that the ship is the victor that comes in with object won 20 The patriotism is still there in the people celebrating their victory At the same time it s a sorrowful moment because the one who brought them to this victory isn t there to celebrate with them The speaker encourages the people to continue exhault and ring O bells in celebration as he stays with his dead Captain 21 He wants his Captain s followers to persevere in his honor The poem concludes with the speaker saying that he is still with mournful tread as he is hit heavily with grief over the loss of his leader 22 The speaker speaks for those who are still grieving over the tragic loss of President Abraham Lincoln Although there is celebration occurring people s hearts are broken The poem ends melancholically at the loss of a country s great president but still keeps the sense of patriotism going

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