A long, dangerous voyage successfully completed! The ship’s crew is returning to the shore to be greeted by their loved ones. Bugles trill. People cheer and marvel at the great ship coming in. There’s only one problem.. O Captain! My Captain!
“O Captain! My Captain!”
by Walt Whitman
Whitman’s tragic song honors the United State’s 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain! My Captain” as a tribute to Abe Lincoln’s abrupt passing. The symbolism is as follows: Lincoln was the captain of the Union. He steered the nation into a new world of civil rights. However, just as the ship was coming in and the Civil War was coming to a close, Abe Lincoln was assassinated. Lincoln was murdered just six days after General Lee surrendered and 3 weeks before the war was declared over.
As the emancipator of slaves, Honest Abe is one of USA’s most beloved presidents. This elegy beautifully articulates how far Lincoln brought the nation; and how tragically he was denied the celebration of the voyage he carried us through.