Annotation Within A Dream

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The poem “A Dream within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe dramatizes the question of the poet’s own reality. The speaker of the poem begins by assuring a lover that she is “not wrong, who deem / That my days have been a dream” (4-5). While he seems rather certain of this at the beginning, he soon calls into question the specifics of his philosophy, asking, “Yet if hope has flown away / In a night, or in a day, / In a vision, or in none, / Is it therefore the less gone?” (6-9). But by the end of the first stanza, the speaker still seems relatively confident in his conclusion that “All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream.” (10-11). Stanza two brings new complications. As the speaker stands on a unpleasant beach, new questions arise.…show more content…
The first stanza follow an aaabbccddbb pattern, but the second follows an aabbcccddeecc pattern. These patterns almost mimics couplets, but they are not consistently in pairs. The rhymes created by the patterns make for a lullaby-esque read, forming a dreamy atmosphere. However, because of the inconsistency of the pattern within the stanzas, as well as the slight contrast between the first and the second stanza, the dreamy atmosphere is slightly interrupted. This perfectly mirrors the edging conflict in the poem. The speaker is almost certain that everything is a dream-- but he can’t be…show more content…
He uses italics on short, one-syllable words in order to further stress his angst. He italicizes two words in the first stanza, “gone” (9) and “All” (10), and two more in the second stanza, “One” (22) and “all” (23). Extra emphasis is given to the word “all” because it is italicized twice. Repetition is another device employed by the speaker. Most notably, the phrase “but a dream within a dream” (11, 24) is repeated at the end of each stanza as well as in the title of the poem. This serves to contrast between the manner in which each is presented, with the first mention sounding sure and the second less so. Other phrases are also repeated, such as “While I weep -- while I weep!” (18). This direct repetition mimics the actual sound of weeping and adds to the speaker’s show of hysteria. A similar value is given to the repetition of the phrase “O God! Can I not…” (19, 21). Although the lines end differently, they begin the same, emphasizing the speaker’s feeling of

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