O Captain! My Captain!
Walt Whitman - 1819-1892
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 bells;
Rise up- for you the flag is flung- for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths- for you the shores a-crowding,
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.
Answer the following questions based on above.
1. How has the trip been characterized? What has the journey been like? (min 40 words)
2. Reread the first line of each stanza. What does the way the speaker addresses the captain in each of those lines reveal about his feelings toward the captain? (min 40 words)
3. How are the people on shore responding to the ship’s safe return? What specific words and images in this second stanza denote celebration? (min 40 words)
4. Which emotions are expressed in the first two stanzas? Which words and phrases create those emotions? (min 50 words)
5. The narrator refers to the captain as “dear father.” What does that phrase reveal about the narrator’s relationship to the captain? How does the phrase influence the mood of the second stanza? (min 50 words)
6. Compare the speaker’s emotions with those of the crowd on shore and describe the effect of these emotions on the poem. (min 50 words)
7. The poem ends with the refrain, “fallen cold and dead.” How does this refrain contribute to the mood of the poem? (min 50 words)