Comparison Of Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain And Poe’s The Bells

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Poetries are the combination of people’s intelligence and experience, and they are one of the most beautiful and rhythmic literature in the world. In order to lead the reader into their thought, poets often use tools or similar ways to make the poetries imaginable. Besides, the poetries written by different poets or even by the same one could have difference from many sides. The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe was written in May1848 and ironically published after Poe’s death. O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman was a famous poetry that is an elegy for the president Lincoln. These two poetries have both similarity and difference in using metaphor, repetition and rhythm.

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To begin with, two poets applied different use of metaphors.. First, Lincoln was eulogized and commemorated by O Captain! The metaphoric meaning of Captain, Lincoln, who led the ship to travel in the sea successfully, led the America to win the Civil War and abolish slavery and united the people, shows the writer’s esteem and love for the captain. The silver sledge and the golden bells are used to convey author’s happiness at the first. Then, within more ominous feeling in next two stanzas, the ‘brazen’ bells created horror atmosphere and the iron bells tolled to represent the death. While both the two poets use metaphor to indicate their theme of poems, the metaphor of bells had varied as the stanza developed. In conclusion, The Bells and O Captain! My Captain have similarity and difference in using metaphor.

Additionally, the repetition in the two poetries should also be considered. Walt Whitman’s O captain! My Captain, the repeating ‘heart’ (line 5) emphasizes the poet’s grief about Lincoln. ‘Fallen cold and dead’ (line 10) is repeated at the end in each stanza in order to emphasize the poet’s deep loss. Besides, at the beginning and end of each section the repetitions also make the poem unit. In general, the repetition in O captain! My Captain and The Bells was different since they have different purpose. To be specific, the repetition in ‘The Bells’ that links of rhythm created a distinct musicality to the poem’s sound; however, the repetition in “O captain! My Captain” conveys the poet’s infinite sorrow over Lincoln’s death and longing for him. But there were still similarity that both poet use repetition in the end to emphasize their attitude towards the theme. Therefore, we conclude that there were similarities and differences of using repetition between Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells and Walt Whitman’s O captain! My Captain.

Finally, both poetries are successful in using rhythms. in Walt Whitman’s O captain! My Captain, there is a pattern of four long lines followed by four short lines in each stanza. The shortened lines emphasize the personal grief experienced by the poet against the backdrop of a broader victory. Furthermore, the rhythm was created by the varying line’s lengths. But, it’s the rhythm of “The Bells” that makes it lyrical. Poe used internal rhyme, line length and punctuation to create an imitative bell rhythm. Therefore, the difference between two poems is the divergence in the rhythm, while the similarity between two poems is that both the poems used line length to strength their rhythm. In conclusion, there were similarities and differences of using rhythm between Edgar Allen Poe’s The Bells and Walt Whitman’s O captain! My Captain.

In conclusion, the using of metaphors, repetitions and rhythmic sentences are deserve to be compared and contrasted because we can find similarity and differences in them. After reading and analyzing the poetries, I learned more about using rhetorical devices and how the experience and emotion could be expressed in writing.

16 December 2021

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