Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night Poem

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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night - Dylan Thomas [1914-1953]

Relevant Background

Dylan Thomas was born at home in Swansea, Wales in 1914.
His parents were middle class. His father was a schoolmaster in English at the local grammar school.
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In the final stanza, Thomas addresses his father in his mind. He wishes that his father would give him his blessing but also curse him out of jealousy for continuing to live.

Themes

A Son's Love For His Father
The entire poem is an appeal to his father to stay alive and to bless his son at the end. He asks his father not to die politely. Rather he wants his father to curse his illness and fight it.

Resist Death
The poem is a passionate call to people to fight death. The poem simply says ‘don’t die’. No one should give up his or her life without a fight. The poem supports a sort of spiritual rebellion against death. Use the points in the summary of the poem to develop this as the main theme of the poem.

Life Is Joyful And Precious
Many images and words in the poem suggest that life is delightful. The idea that your eyes ‘could blaze like meteors and be gay’ suggests that life is energetic and happy. The image of dancing in a green bay suggests the beauty of the world we live
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The image of the ‘dying of the light’ is sad and sounds even more so because of the long ‘i’ sound in the phrase. Words like ‘blaze’ and ‘rage’ create a fierce and intensely passionate atmosphere.
Paradox [apparent contradiction] Thomas asks his father to ‘curse, bless, me’. Thomas imagines that grave or serious men on their deathbed see too late what they had been blind to up until then: ’see too late with blinding light’.
Pun The phrase ‘the dying of the light’ sounds like ‘the dying of delight’. Thomas portrays the delightful aspects of life in images such as the sun in flight and a green bay. The phrase ‘good night’ stands for the fact that death is the final ‘goodnight’ or goodbye to life. In the phrase ‘ see with blinding light’, ‘blinding’ means very bright light. But ‘blind’ in the next line refers to eyes that had failed to see the joyful and passionate side of life, the eyes of ‘grave’ or over serious men.
Alliteration Note the repeated ‘b’ sound in ‘Blind eyes could blaze’. This alliteration draws our attention to how serious men were blind to the possibilities of fun in life. Blind eyes could have been blazing eyes, eyes that are

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