Walt Whitman

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How does the tone change throughout the poem "O Captain! My Captain!"?

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The tone of "O Captain! My Captain!" does not so much change over the course of the poem as it maintains a tension between exultation and melancholy throughout its three stanzas. In the first stanza, we see this in the shift in language between the first half—"prize," "won," "people all exulting"—and the second, which marks a semantic and emotional step change away from the "daring" vessel towards the "bleeding" heart of the poet, as it is...

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