What Is Romanticism In Oh Captain My Captain

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Often times people use poetry to tell a story, or show how they feel about a topic. The poet Walt Whitman does this in his Poem “Oh Captain! My Captain!”. This poem tells the story of one of Whitman’s idol’s legacy and death. Walt Whitman portrays American Romanticism through “Oh Captain! My Captain!” to describe Abraham Lincoln’s life.
Walt Whitman believed everyone was equal and was a big fan of Abraham Lincoln. After Lincoln’s assassination Whitman wrote many poems to describe the travel of Lincoln’s body back to Springfield including “Drum Taps”. According to Martin Griffin of the New York Times “Oh Captain! My Captain” was the only short poem about Lincoln to become well known. Although Whitman never directly met Lincoln, he had seen
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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
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It is not news for anyone to hear that Lincoln changed America, but Whitman explains it a little differently. Looking closer at “Oh Captain! My Captain!” elements of American Romanticism pop out, and one of those major elements is political changes or events. The Event of this is very well known, Lincoln’s assassination. New york Times tells that Whitman was pushed to write this poem after Lincoln’s assassination as a tribute to him. “Generations of historians have described, and tried to interpret the meaning of, this unique funeral procession. But no author has probed the event more deeply than Walt Whitman”. (Griffin, New York Times). This can be shown through the detail of the poem to his assassination. It describes the captain falling cold and dead, which can be a direct correlation to him being shot. His assassination isn't the only thing discussed in this poem. Going back to the metaphors about the voyage, the voyage is described as done. This can show that the civil war was over recently, it ended on April 9th. Lincoln’s assassination took place on April 14th. The close relations of both of these events happening are described like a history lesson through the poem. The second stanza is describing the vents after the war, and the third is describing Lincoln's death. After the war ended the country was in a state of happiness and celebration, but Lincoln was assassinated only a few days later.

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