Friday, July 3, 2015

Poem - A Dream Within A Dream and Images. Edgar Allan Poe 1848


 A Dream Within A Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?



Analysis

Poe’s invigorating tale of a dream.

Edgar Allan Poe’s psychologically thrilling tales examining the depths of the human mind earned him much fame during his lifetime and after his death. The poet was born on the 19th of January,1809 in Boston, Massachusetts. His life was flawed by tragedy at an early age (his parents died before he was three years old). Edgar went to live with John Allan who was a Scottish tobacco merchant living in Richmond, Virginia. The Allan family was quite well to do, and Edgar lived a good life with them. As a mark of respect for his adoptive family, Edgar took the middle name of Allan and came to be known as Edgar Allan Poe (Peters). In 1835, Poe began to publish short stories in a Philadelphia publication. Poe published poems, book reviews, stories and critiques of other people’s works. The circulation of the magazine increased from 700 to 3500.

On the 3rd of October, 1849 Poe was discovered on the streets of Baltimore in a very delirious condition. He was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where his condition worsened even more. He was not coherent enough to elaborate on how he came to be found in that particular state. He finally passed away on the 7th of October, 1849. In Poe’s poetic works, you can see his darkly passionate sensibilities. Researchers describe Poe as having a tormented and sometimes neurotic obsession with death and violence; an overall appreciation for the beautiful yet tragic mysteries of life (Peters). Perhaps, his life can be described better by one of the Edgar Allan Poe Poems, titled ‘A Dream Within A Dream’.

The poem is 24 lines, divided into two stanzas. A ‘Dream Within a Dream’ reflects Poe's feelings about his life at the time, dramatizing his confusion in watching the important things in his life slip away. Edgar wrote this poem when he was just a teenager. The first stanza shows the first-person point of view of the narrator parting from a lover. “Unfulfilled hopes and dreams frustrate and discourage the narrator in the first stanza. Downcast, he asks, perhaps sarcastically, whether it really matters that life has robbed him of purpose, ambition, or love, for life itself is but a dream. 

To lose desiderata, therefore, is to lose nothing; what appeared real and attainable was only an illusion” (Steel). The second stanza places the narrator on a beach while unsuccessfully attempting to hold a handful of sand in his hand. Accordingly, the falling grains of sand in the second stanza recall the image of an hourglass, which in turn represents the passage of time. As the sand flows away until all time has passed, the lovers time also disappears, and the sand and the romance each turn into impressions from a dream (Steel). 

Poe uses alliteration in "grains of the golden sand," Poe emphasizes the "golden" or desired nature of both the sand and of love, but he shows undoubtedly that neither is enduringly achievable. “Although the two stanzas are not identical in length, their similar use of an iambic rhythm and of couplets and triplets in their end rhyme scheme creates a pattern that matches the parallel of their ideas” (Miller). 

The rhyme scheme of the poem is AABCCDDEEFF GGHHIIIJJKKLL. The opening stanza, for example, begins with a triplet (groups of three rhyming lines), and then shifts to couplets (pairs of rhyming lines), as follows:

Take this kiss upon the brow!  
And, in parting from you now,  
Thus much let me avow— 
You are not wrong, who deem 
That my days have been a dream;  
Yet if hope has flown away 
In a night, or in a day, 
In a vision, or in none,  
Is it therefore the less gone?  
All that we see or seem 
Is but a dream within a dream.  

Moreover, Poe uses personification numerous times throughout the poem. Personification is a technique that gives inanimate object in the poem human traits or characteristics. In the poem, personification is used on the sand. "How few! yet how they creep." Creep is used to describe how the sand disappears from his hand. It shows the sand slowly disappearing and the sand takes on a human trait which is to move slowly or “creep”. One more example of personification is "pitiless wave". Pitiless wave describes the wave as cruel because it washed away the sand, the narrators love. The wave takes a human form of having a trait which is cruel. Furthermore, there is another instance where an inanimate object gains animal-like characteristics. It is "Yet if hope has flown away." Hope has taken a bird's trait; to fly. It shows hope is flying out of grasp, meaning, quickly vanishing, or flying. Finally, Poe uses consonance with the words deep/weep and hand/sand.

In my opinion, the poem at first was extremely difficult to understand. Upon doing my research, I saw how differently people interpreted the poem and how it related to Poe using the ocean to describe him losing a loved one. I believe Poe was trying to explain how life, no matter how much you cherish it, life can and will ultimately slip through your fingers in what feels like a brief moment and there’s nothing you can do to stop that. 

Moreover, he is saying that all that we are, all that we love, all we imagine of ourselves, our lives, and everything around us is temporary. 

































 
 














 




















 

























































 
 










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