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A Dream Within a Dream Summary & Analysis
by Edgar Allan Poe

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"A Dream Within a Dream" is a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The poem expresses doubt and uncertainty about the nature of reality, questioning whether life itself is just an illusion—"a dream within a dream." It begins with a speaker parting from a lover (or at least, from someone with whom the speaker was very close), and ends with the speaker on a beach, attempting to grasp grains of sand that keep slipping through the speaker's fingers. The poem is appropriately riddle-like as its speaker grows increasingly troubled by a lack of certainty.

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