Essay On Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

1422 Words 6 Pages
“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

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