Oh leader! O Captain!
Many leaders lack the ability of moving great people. It is a difficult task to mourn the loss of a leader. Abraham Lincoln was a rare exception. In O Captain! Walt Whitman uses the metaphor of a Captain in O Captain! to express the love and respect he felt for Abraham Lincoln.
Captains must respect their crew to be able lead their crew. Abraham Lincoln had people around him who were willing to follow him into every situation. This is what the poem’s Captain admired. Oh leader! Our fearful journey is over, my captain. Whitman describes a terrifying trip, which Whitman would only recommend to someone he trusted and respected. This was the Civil War. Lincoln won his struggle. Whitman said that the price we paid was paid. People weren’t content to mourn Lincoln’s death but were more prepared to celebrate his victory. Whitman used metaphors like ribbond wreaths and bells to express his loyalty towards Lincoln. Lincolns sudden death caused widespread confusion in the country. You could feel the eagerness and longing to see him again, as you crowded the beaches.
It is a sign that a man calls another man father. Fathers are loved and respected by their children. They should also be treated with loyalty. It’s common to take a moment to reflect on a parent’s death or any other loved one. A loved one will always be remembered. Years of admiring smiles and expressions will soon be a distant memory. Whitman turns to his Captain, his dad. He stares at his Captain, his father, and examines the paleness of his lips.
Whitman’s last verse shows him feeling true joy. He is reminded of Lincoln and this brings him joy. He feels pain but the joy radiates. Whitman should remember that Lincoln won, and that feelings of joy as well as triumphant power must be present. Exult, O shores. Ring, O bells. These are powerful words. Leaders should feel these emotions. A leader who inspires a follower to continue the quest of his leader after he has passed away is considered successful.
Whitman shows dignity and compassion for Lincoln’s passing. He manages to mix happiness and sadness gracefully, while not losing sight of the seriousness.