Essay On Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Better Essays
“Do not go gentle into that good night” is both the title of Dylan Thomas’s poem and his plea that we, his audience, never submit to the peaceful escape death has to offer in the face of life’s many struggles. Rather than surrendering to death, Thomas encourages us to “rage against the dying of the light”. These two lines are repeated a total of four times each throughout the poem’s six stanza villanelle. It is through his strong reliance on repetition that we come to comprehend Thomas’s desperation within his words. It isn’t until the sixth and final stanza that we discover his desperation to be more than just pleading with his audience to fight for survival but his own father who can be found “on the sad height” of life’s end and death’s …show more content…
The first stanza goes on to support this argument by claiming that “old age should burn and rave” meaning life shouldn’t slow as death becomes apparent, life should thrive in it’s final moments. The poet insists we must “rage, rage against the dying of the light”. Both refrains aren’t seen within the same stanza again until the the final stanza of the poem. Stanza two goes on to support Thomas’s argument by saying even “wise men” know death is inevitable but this does not mean they accept it’s presence so easily. In stanza three the poet suggests that “good men” fight this inevitable death and “rage against the dying of the light”. Stanza four makes a case for “wild men”, those who might have been considered to have truly lived life by adventuring and celebrating all that life had to offer them only to find that life and all it’s treasures would be gone from them if they were to go “into that good night”. In the fifth stanza those whose age has come to rob them of their strength are referred to as “grave men”, which could be interpreted as solemn or facing their grave (demise), yet despite their dwindling strengths they too rage against death. The sixth and final stanza focuses one one particular man, the poet’s father, who (like the rest) is being faced by death. Thomas mentions how sad it is to see his father reach this point in life and that death is a bittersweet occurrence. In …show more content…
Death is often described to be drastically negative in one way or another and yet Thomas chose simple and peaceful metaphors such as night the end of a day to represent it. If he wanted so terribly to make death as unappealing as he claims he might have chosen more horrific metaphors to represent it. Now to take into consideration the choice of a villanelle for the poem’s structure. A “sing song” rhyme scheme to capture the negative aspects of death and why it must be resisted, the two couldn’t contradict each other more. It is in this frame of mind that I propose the poem has a completely different meaning than it leads its audience to believe. Rather than defying death for one’s own personal gain and a chance at extending their lives despite the suffering they may face in old age, I believe this poem was written as a testament to the loved one’s we lose or in Dylan Thomas’s case, his father. The poem’s purpose is not pleading those in the face of death to stay because death is so terrible, but rather because the void left after they’ve gone “gentle into that good night” is painful. So painful in fact that for our own selfish reasons we beg and plead in desperation that these loved ones can prolong their struggle against

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    They quickly discover that the world is losing its glimmer around them, seen in the words grieved it on its way.” Yet these men still fight against falling into that goodnight. In the fifth stanza Thomas shifts to a final man, the grave men. These serious men, that are “near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,” (Thomas 13-14) still fight against the dying of their life. He simplifies the language used in this stanza to relate to the serious man, superfluously seen when he simply uses “near death”. These men who are losing their sight, can still use their strength.…

    • 868 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Although it appears gloomy, life is worth living and you should fight even though the light is dying. Thomas begins his poem by requesting his father to not be soft on death. He asks his father not to accept death quietly but to fight against it with great force and passion. The word ‘good night’ in the first line refer to a ‘good death’ and the poet encourages his father to resist death in a gentle way. The use of the word ‘rage’ in line 3 shows the poet urging his father to suggest a resistance towards death.…

    • 903 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is a powerful poem by Dylan Thomas that appeals to our need to make our lives count against our inevitable deaths. In this poem, the speaker asserts that old men, at the end of their lives, should resist death as firmly as they can. In fact, they should do everything in their power to never give up and keep on fighting. At the end of the poem, it is revealed that the speaker also has a personal stake in the issue, in that his own father is dying. In the first stanza, he begins with a command: “Do not go gentle into that good night.” He then proceeds to make a generalized assertion about old age, declaring that one should “burn and rave” against dying, just as they would have in their youth.…

    • 1618 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Do not go gentle into that good night. Here, it can be understood that Thomas is sad for his father’s nearing death, but encouraging him to curse him. The author believes to be cursed by his father would reveal any sign of rage, fire and therefore life he may still have despite his dying condition; from that, possibly reflecting the strength his father held while he was living. Thomas compares his father’s life to that of “wise men” (line four),“good men” (line seven), “wild men” (line ten) and “grave men”(line thirteen, stanza five). These men, in Thomas’s eyes, live full and worthwhile lives and are not ready to die, feeling there is more to live for when death approaches.…

    • 762 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The poet is criticizing the Death by saying he is not almighty as he thought. He criticized the Death as if it a living thing or a person. He also criticized Death as if death is a person he hates the most in his entire lives. For example, in line 1, Donne is attacking Death with warning him not to have pride as if he is the strongest person alive. The poem stated, “Death, be not proud, though some have called thee.” From the start, John Donne is taking away Death’s confidence by warning him of having pride.…

    • 1351 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Explication Essay: Do not go gentle into that good night The poem Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas was written in a lyrical style for Thomas’ own dying father as a plea for him to not fade quietly into death. Thomas declares that old men should resist death as much as they can. Indeed, they should only depart from this world kicking and screaming, furious that they have to die at all. This poem is a message for those aged ones facing the inevitability of death to resist and even “rage” against their own inevitable demise. Thomas makes use of figurative language in this nineteen line poem in order to create emotionally deep imagery to support the idea of fighting against death.…

    • 1502 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Next the poet addresses good men. Dylan Thomas is saying that though these men were kind, they were ultimately scared of death. Their good deeds were to go unrecognized (lines seven and eight) and for this reason they will not quietly slip away into death. Wild men are characterized in this poem as brave and zealous, as seen in line 10, “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,”. Sadly the men learned too late that life is fleeting and are also afraid to die.…

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Do Not Go Gentle

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The speaker acceptance of his father’s death and forever rest are not considered in the rage, the death of his father blinds him and shows how frustrated he is and how powerless he is to change the fact that his father is going to die. The speaker talks about the loss of love due to the death of a loved one which makes the meaning of the poem not that clear because of the use of metaphors. The speakers message about love remains so touching which should have made the dying of his father more important but he puts his own rage in first place. The speaker makes by making each line contain the same number of…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The concept of an afterlife weighs heavily on Hamlet’s mind as he contemplates his death and while killing others in hopes of revenge. A comparison of the views of suicide in these two plays helps one distinguish the spiritual differences between Rome and other parts of Europe, specifically Denmark. The most important distinction is that Hamlet worries about the unknowns of the afterlife. Religion and the complex relationship between God and humans are on Hamlet’s mind. This is apparent in Act 3 Scene 3 Line 73 when Hamlet resists killing Claudius while praying because he does not feel it is appropriate revenge to kill someone who is praying because Claudius would be forgiven and sent to heaven and therefore Hamlet decides it would not be proper revenge for a murderer.…

    • 1663 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    When Thomas writes, “Old age should burn and rave at close of day,” is his way of saying that death should not be given in to without a fight. Thomas’s choice of two similar words in “rage” and “rave” connotes a certain lack of control and almost irrational resistance to what comes to everyone. That being said, Thomas argues that resisting is preferable to that of simply waiting for death to come. Written for his father, Thomas’s opening stanza is a beautiful opening to the poem. He, in much more elegant terms, writes that one might as well spit in death’s face and live a full life rather than sit back and…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays

Related Topics