Essay on O captain

Submitted By MikeZee
Words: 339
Pages: 2

In this poem, a sailor is singing a song that praises his captain for successfully leading their ship and all those aboard back into the harbour after an epic voyage, oblivious to their fallen leader. The first verse of this poem describes the happiness of the crew upon returning. In the second verse, the speaker notices that the captain of the ship has “fallen cold and dead.” The sailor and the rest of his crew verify that the captain is indeed deceased, and mourn their loss while walking the deck where the captain lies. “O Captain! My Captain!” is one of Walt Whitman’s most famous poems. It is classified as an elegy, because it is a poem that was written in mourning to memorialize someone. The “captain” that the title of the poem refers to is Abraham Lincoln, a man that Whitman greatly admired. Whitman decided to memorialize Lincoln’s death with O Captain! My Captain! The poem is meant to express Whitman’s appreciation for Lincoln’s actions as President, and to mourn his death as one of his biggest supporters.
The entire poem is an extended metaphor about Abraham Lincoln and his contributions to America, which is represented by the ship in the poem. The “fearful trip” that they are returning from refers to the Civil War, which ended during the same year that this poem was written. The prize that they sought and achieved is the preservation of the union, which is what the war was for.
Certain words and phrases are often repeated in this poem. In the second verse,…