Walt Whitman’s poem “Oh Captain My Captain” was written about which president?

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Walt Whitman, an America’s world poet, mesmerized us with his remarkable writings. He showed his love for America in most of his poems. But do you know Walt Whitman’s poem “Oh Captain, My Captain” was written about which president? If not, then just don’t worry. This article will provide a suitable answer to your question. He wrote this lyrical, poetic piece reminiscing the death of America’s celebrated president, Abraham Lincoln.

“O Captain, My Captain” by Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman’s poem “Oh Captain, My Captain” was written about which president?

Walt Whitman published “Oh Captain, My Captain”, a metaphorical poem in 1865, after a few months of Lincoln’s assassination. The poem unfolds mixed emotions; the speaker is the crewman on the ship making their way back from a difficult trip. At first, he seems happy because the trip was a success. However, their success is doomed because the captain is lying wounded on the ground. Then, the speaker tries to take him back to life by reminding him of the challenges they have overcome.

Unfortunately, the great victory cost them dearly; the captain wins this victory by sacrificing himself. After the great battle, he is lying helplessly in on the deck. The sad speaker tried to implore his dead caption to get up and see how anxiously people were waiting for his safe return. They did not know that the man who made them proud had left them for the eternal abode.

Abraham Lincoln, a Fatherly Figure

The repetition of “My Captain” and “O Captain” shows that people share a significant association with the dead soul. The arduous trip in the poem metaphorically refers to America’s Union Victory in the Civil War. Lincoln’s regime successfully defeated the Confederacy, threatening to destroy the United States and tear it into two. Undoubtedly, America secured a great victory at that time, but Lincoln’s death overshadowed the significant win.

Walt Whitman’s poem “Oh Captain My Captain” was written about which president?

The death of the Captain in this poem refers to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth shot him on the 14th of April in 1865. Since Walt Whitman was a die heart admirer of Lincoln’s, he outpoured his intense feelings and emotions in this poem to show his grief over the loss of a great leader.  Moreover, using his literary mind, he tries to show the emotional attachment of America with Lincoln, a founding father of his nation. Thus, the elegy, “O Captain! My Captain,” is an extended metaphor about Lincoln’s presidency because it compares Lincoln to a ship’s Captain, the Union Army to a ship, and the Civil War to a trip.

Conclusion

After analyzing the poem at a deeper level, one can quickly grab the idea of what kind of personality Walt Whitman’s captain was. He was the one who put his sweat and blood into the betterment of his country. He brilliantly restored The United States as a single nation under the constitution; ending slavery was significant to that goal. Thus, keeping Abraham Lincoln’s great deeds in mind, the writer has paid him a remarkable tribute in this poem.

Let’s Sum Up!

I hope this article has provided a satisfactory answer to the question, Walt Whitman’s poem “Oh Captain, My Captain” was written about which president?

See Also:

When I Heard the Learned Astronomer by Walt Whitman Analysis

“Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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