What is the theme of ''The Slave's Dream''?

2 Answers | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

It is clear that this impressive poem discusses the true nature of freedom and slavery through its content. Note how the poem is built around a central contrast between the slave at the beginning in his position of chained worker, with the "ungathered rice" around him and the "sickle in his hand," and then with the same man but before his capture, as he returns in his dream to his native land. There is obviously a massive difference between the pitiful figure who lies on the sand in the first stanza and how he imagines himself back in his home, as in his dream he is able to stride "once more as a king" and is surrounded by his "dark-eyed queen" and children. He inhabits a place of freedom, as this stanza demonstrates:

The forests, with their myriad tongues,

Shouted of liberty;

And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,

With a voice so wild and free,

That he started in his sleep and smiled

At their tempestuous glee.

Note how his home is associated with freedom and with liberty, which ironically is so very far from his present condition as a shackled slave. The last stanza points towards the tragedy of slavery, as the man dies in his dream, and his body is described as a "worn-out fetter, that the soul / Had broken and thrown away!" The poem's theme therefore points towards the inhumanity of slavery and how it deprived free people of their lives and liberty by relocating them into strange, alien lands and making them work under terrible conditions. For these slaves, freedom can only be achieved through their dreams, but ultimately only through their deaths as their souls break free.

shubhambajaj's profile pic

shubhambajaj | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

It is clear that this impressive poem discusses the true nature of freedom and slavery through its content. Note how the poem is built around a central contrast between the slave at the beginning in his position of chained worker, with the "ungathered rice" around him and the "sickle in his hand," and then with the same man but before his capture, as he returns in his dream to his native land. There is obviously a massive difference between the pitiful figure who lies on the sand in the first stanza and how he imagines himself back in his home, as in his dream he is able to stride "once more as a king" and is surrounded by his "dark-eyed queen" and children. He inhabits a place of freedom, as this stanza demonstrates:

The forests, with their myriad tongues,

Shouted of liberty;

And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,

With a voice so wild and free,

That he started in his sleep and smiled

At their tempestuous glee.

We’ve answered 318,957 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question