A dream within a dream is a romantic poem by Edgar Allan. Throughout the two-stanza poem, the theme of love and romance takes center stage. The persona of the poem is a male lover, who addresses his ladylove through the poem. The poem opens with the speaker informing the readers about his dreams about a certain girl. The speaker openly tells the ladylove that she is actually correct in concluding that he (the speaker) has spent his entire life dreaming about her. However, according to the speaker’s choice of words, there is a high probability that he will not get the lady. According to him, all that he sees is possibly a dream within a dream. In most cases, romantic issues tend to begin as a dream, then the flourish to become relationships. However, there is a high probability that the speaker may not achieve his dreams of winning over the lady lover’s heart. Through the first stanza, the speaker makes the reader aware of how much he dreams of the lady, and the extent to which he could go in order to have her as his lover. The second stanza, to a great extent, explains the desperation that the speaker has for the lady. The speaker is presented as standing on the beach and watching sand grains slipping away through his hands. As the sand slips away, the speaker cries to God to help him hold the sand tighter. The reasons for his desire to hold it tighter for a little longer are not explained. As the speaker concludes the poem, he is unaware whether whatever he is experiencing is a dream within another dream. From such a conclusion, the reader can deduce that the speaker is very much determined to have his lady lover. However, the chances of achieving his dreams are very low and there are high chances that he will lose in his pursuit to have her.
The poem takes a regular pattern in most of its literal aspects. The poem consists of two stanzas that build on each other. Despite the fact that the two stanzas contain disparate scenes, the scenes are in a way connected to each other and they address the same issue. Although the poems are related, their scenes contrast a lot. At the beginning of the poem, that is, the first stanza, the poem is calm and solemn in nature. However, as the reader goes through the poem to the second stanza, the poem is more passionate. The first stanza, for instance, is less emotional and is characterized by a thoughtful agreement. The second stanza is, however, more emotional as the speaker employs despairing rhetoric to explain the extent to which he is tormented by the departure of his lady love (Moore et al, 23). Expletives such as ‘Oh God’ are further employed by the speaker to explain that the chances of grasping his lover are beyond his reach, and that he would depend on God to guide him even as he dreams of the lady lover.
Throughout the poem, Edgar Allan has employed rhyme to a great effect. Important to note is the fact that perfect rhyme/regular rhyme is preferred in the poem, rather than imperfect and irregular rhyme. In poetry, rhyme plays a very crucial role. Simply put, rhyme occurs when there is a repetition of two or more similar sounds, mostly at the end of a poem’s lines. Rhyme makes the poem more interesting and memorable, as the repetition is highly likely to attract the attention of the readers. In the poem, for instance, Edgar Allan has effectively used it to create some pattern at the end of every line in the poem (Moore et al. 21). In stanza one, the first three lines have the words ‘brow’, ‘now’ and ‘avow’ to create a certain pattern. Lines four and have the words ‘deem’ and ‘dream’ rhyming, while lines six and seven have ‘away’ and ‘a day’ rhyming. Other words that rhyme in the poem include ‘none’ and ‘gone’, ‘seem’ and ‘dream’, ‘roar’ and ‘shore’, ‘hand’ and ‘sand’, ‘creep’, ‘deep’ and ‘weep’, among many more others. Most authors employ rhyme in order to show their understanding of the language. Though difficult to achieve in a poem, rhyme is very essential in poetry.
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
The term ‘O God’ in the second stanza has been repeated intentionally by the author to show how much the speaker understands that his lady lover is no longer within his reach. He intervenes to God to help him have a tighter grasp so as to achieve his dreams. As a result, therefore, the author has employed repetition in the poem correctly. Other phrases that have been repeated include ‘dream within a dream’ and ‘is all that we see or seem’.
Effectively, the author has managed to use the sea as the perfect setting to discuss the decay in the society. Despite the fact that the setting of the first stanza is not at the sea, most of the poem’s strong emotions are expressed at the sea. The speaker probably gazed at the waters as he hoped he would get a chance to get the lady. Most poets have used water bodies as their setting for the significance that for whatever that happens (Arnold et al. 43), life has to go on. As much as the speaker had no control of his lover, life has to go on.
Arnold, Matthew, and John N. Bryson. Poetry and Prose. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954. Print.
Brooks, Cleanth, and Robert P. Warren. Understanding Poetry: An Anthology for College Students. New York: H. Holt and Co, 1938. Print.
Moore, John H, and John H. Moore. Poetical Trifles. Cambridge [England: Chadwyck-Healey, 1992. Print.
Moore, John H. Poetical Trifles: By the Late Sir John Henry Moore, Bart. London: Printed for C. Dilly, Poultry, 1783. Print.