The five stages of death: Denial and Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance; many people, if not all, go through these stages within their lifespan. “A Dream Within A Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe follows a forlorn speaker who is grieving a lost loved one. Most people cannot fathom the utter desolation of watching a loved one die, the helplessness of a life passing, the self loathing that comes with the failure of protecting what you love the most.
The poem begins with an almost calm acceptance and a gentle farewell between two lovers. The first line the speaker bestows a “kiss upon the brow” (line 1. . . is this redundant?) to his departed lover, this classic show of affection draws the reader into a picturesque reverence. From there the speaker questions existence and the afterlife, as a traditional question that to this day is still disputed over, the speaker tries to create a sense of hope in seeing his love again. His hope that has “flown away” (line 6) gives hope a birdlike quality, and though hope may leave there is always an optimism that is will come back. The question of “Yet if hope has flown away. . .Is it therefore the less gone?”(line 6-9) is striking to the readers, it is the first use of italics and brings the reader in to answer the question. The speaker’s question addresses that in the complete loss of hope, does hope really matter when you lost something that you can never get back?
The next use of italics in “All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream.” (Line 10-11) Unifies “gone (line 9) and “All” (line 10) with hope and the speaker’s love being gone, it is still the only thing that he can see. The speaker’s “dream within a dream” (line 11) can allude to two different meanings; the dream of hope being within a dream of the past or the dream of life as you pass on awakening you into a new dream existence. The dream of hope within a dream of the past, ties back into the beginning of the poem where the speaker is addressing his departed, who deemed that his days “have been a dream;” (line 5) pulling together the theme of a happy life with his lover, and alluding to the hopes that young lovers aspired to accomplish. While the dream of your current “life” will end in your passing and lead you into another dream, creates a type of dreamception, this gives the reader a sense of hope for the lovers would be able to live another dream together.
The second stanza of the poem begins with a more dramatic sense of word choice, punctuation, and meaning. The speaker is no longer standing near his deceased lover, but on a “surf-tormented shore” (line 13). The shore is a symbol for life and his soul, the chaos not only within over losing his other half, but also the chaos around him that...