Edgar Allan Poe's "A Dream within a Dream" deals with a man's struggle to find out the meaning of life. This poem seems to be about a man parting from his lover. The poem is in first person narrative and the speaker seems to be the man. The audience is mainly the people reading that poem however, Poe may have targeted a more gothic audience. This poem contains nine couplets and two triplets. For example, the opening stanza of "A Dream within a Dream" starts off with a triplet, and then switches to couplets. The setting of this poem is near the sea. This setting correlates to the anguish that the narrator faces while questioning his life and all the dreams that he was unable to accomplish.
The poem contains two stanzas that have two separate but connected scenes. .
The juxtaposed stanzas contrasts in many ways such as their two different tones. The first stanza is calm and peaceful part of the poem because it is orchestrated in a departure from the narrator's love. The first stanza deals with the narrator kissing a woman. They seem to be lovers that are parting from each other. After the man kisses her, he tells the woman that she is right about living a dream. The woman may have been implying that the time she has spent with him has been a dream like a great escape from reality. He agrees with her. The time they have spent together has maybe made him open his eyes about love and even life. It seems as though the narrator is distraught because he has some unfulfilled hopes and dreams. He asks "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?". He wonders whether it even matters if his life has had his love, dreams, and aspirations taken away from him because he feels that life is just a dream anyway. In this way, he feels that he has not lost anything because dreams are ultimately illusions.
Poe uses anaphora many times throughout the poem.