A Dream Within A Dream Analysis

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Edgar Allen Poe, in “A Dream Within a Dream” uses the main emotions of distress and despair to express his theme that life is just a dream that one cannot control or hold on to, no matter how hard one tries, he achieves this with his usage of word choice, figurative language, and imagery.
Poe uses specific word choices to help us see how anguish and misery play an essential role in the theme of his poem. This is achieved by his careful consideration of the use of abstract and concrete words. Abstract words are very prominent within “A Dream Within a Dream.” For instance, the title in itself has nothing, but abstract words in it, which helps to achieve the overall dreamy or dreary tone of the poem. Words like “pitiless” illustrates unwillingness
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One of the most used words is the obvious “dream” because this sets up the entire meaning of the poem that life is “A Dream Within a Dream” (5, 11, 24). A “dream” seems almost touchable, but no matter how hard one tries one can never take hold of it (5, 11, 24). Consequently, this one word also sets up the entire mood of the poem, which is dreary or misery. In the second stanza the line, “And I hold within my hand” does not seem like much, but when one focuses on the concrete word “hand,” it seems to hold weight or surround the concrete and abstract words after it (14). The hand creates a depiction and the mood of what is being lost, therefore enforcing the melancholy or distress. Words that seem to surround it are “sand,” which the “hand” is holding, “…creep / through…” and “fingers” because that “sand” is falling through the “fingers” of the “hand” effortlessly (14-16). As …show more content…
He uses personification, metaphor and apostrophe to prompt the reader to feel the emotional state of the speaker. In the second stanza, it reads “Of a surf tormented shore” which is a metaphor for life, how it is unpredictable and rough like giant ocean waves crashing onto the shore (13). If one takes into account the line before it, which says “I stand amid the roar” the speaker is standing in the middle of the chaos of life and cannot do anything about it (12). Therefore, the speaker is feeling disarray and it makes one think he would also feel a sense of dejection because he cannot control his surroundings. Another example of the mood of gloominess is in the personification in the first stanza, “Hope has flown away” where hope is a bird that has flown away and lost forever (6). Lastly, the apostrophe, “O God! Can I not grasp” and “O God! can I not save” shows a good example of grief and despondency (19-21). With these two lines, it really makes one imagine the reader looking to the sky with urgency, pleading his case. These were only a few examples of how figurative language plays an important role in the mood of grief and despondency within “A Dream Within a

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