Symbolism in Whitman's OCaptain! May Cap

O Captain! My Captain!

By Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done.

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! Heart! Heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bell;

Rise up-for you the flag is flung-for you the bugle trills,

For you banquets and ribbon'd wreaths-for you the shores


For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

This arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult O shores, and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

I feel that Walt Whitman uses imagery to help us picture what exactly is going on this particular day. First, he mentions the bells ringing as the ship returns to the port. He continues to describe the ship, and then all of a sudden shows red drops of blood, and a dead captain, that we can almost feel as being cold. Whitman shows how much he would like the captain (Lincoln) to rise up and listen to the bells tolling, and the bugles trilling in his honor. And again, Whitman paints the picture of his captain lying cold and dead. He ends the poem showing again the dead captain that has no pulse and describing the feelings Whitman feels after his captain dies..

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