Auden?S ?Musee Des Beaux Arts? And Dylans ?Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? Essay, Research Paper
Both Auden’s “Musee des Beaux Arts” and Dylans “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” can be seen as having a theme of tragedy. Both concern the topic of death, although each has a different message. Auden is one side of the spectrum saying that death and suffering are natural parts of the life cycle, while Thomas wants to fight death because there is still much to be done. But throughout both of these poems tragedy is a prevailing theme.
Auden describes how the world continues spinning in spite of the suffering and tragedy going on. He believes that tragedy and suffering are all what you make of it. Tragedy occurs when other people are just living their lives such as “…eating or opening a window or just walking dully along….” For example, in the story of Icarus, someone must have heard him plummet to the ground and die. But it was not a big deal for the ploughman. It was not an “important failure; the sun shone as it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green water.” It was the natural cycle of life. And again this example is seen in the last line of the poem “…and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky, had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.” The ship had to continue on with life and had somewhere to go. It didn’t have time to be concerned with the tragedy of something else. Life goes one despite tragedy. Every single day there is tragedy and suffering in this world, but other people go on with their own lives because they have too. From the title, I got the idea that Auden thought that through death and tragedy, art was created. There was detail to death.
Thomas, on the other hand, believes people should fight against death or tragedy. He describes how wise men don’t go gentle into the good night because they realize they have yet to achieve anything great in their lives. Good men resist death because they know they could have done better and their deeds won’t last in the long run. Wild men lived life to the fullest and don’t want to let the experience they have had to be gone. They realize everything else they could have done to seize the day. Grave men who are close to death look back in hind sight and realize all of their potential. They had doubted their capacity and now at their death bed know that if they had tried they could have succeeded. All of these men rage against death, or the dying of the light. Thomas wants his father to resist death as well. His father is on his death bed and he both curses and blesses him because he knows he is dying but still has a little bit of time left on earth. He wants his father to rage against tragedy and fight a little bit harder, as all of the wise, good, wild, and grave men have done before him. Tragedy is seen in all of these stories of what could have been done, and things that might have happened. All of these men regret something in their life and this is a tragedy in itself. Thomas doesn’t want his father to just let go, but instead fight to live until the very last moment.
Tragedy has two different themes inside of itself in the two poems. Auden describes tragedy as a natural part of the life cycle. Everyone experiences it and life must go on. Thomas, however, wants to fight against this tragedy of death. There should be no easy acceptance of tragedy and death as part of a natural cycle. It should be resisted and fought against. Both poems use tragedy as their basic theme but it travels in a different direction in the two.