© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Paul Revere

Symbol Analysis

Our hero. Of course, since he's at the center of this poem, he can't just be some guy on a horse. He's a symbol of the past, of American courage, of the danger and the fascination of the Revolutionary War. Longfellow almost makes him into an early American action hero.

  • Line 2: The first mention of Paul and his midnight ride. It's worth pointing out that we don't learn very much about the man himself in this poem. He's really more of an idea than a character. Think of him as all the good things about the Revolution wrapped into one person.
  • Line 59: Paul pops up again here, waiting by his horse for the signal. We'll point out again that Longfellow doesn't really let us inside his head here. He doesn't seem scared or nervous. He's just eager to go and do his job.
  • Line 130: Paul's name finishes the poem, but in a sense, he isn't really there. There's no image of him to finish things off, just the idea of his "message." People say this poem made Revere famous, but it seems to us that he gets kind of lost in all of this. He's more an idea than a living, breathing person.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...