Thomas Essay, Research Paper
In Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night,” he depicts the inevitability of death through repetition and diction. Furthermore, he portrays the stages of man’s life in his comparison to “good men, “wild men,” and grave men.” Finally, Thomas’ medium of poetic expression presents itself in the villanelle.
The villanelle’s persona speaks in this poem as the son of a dying father. Line sixteen states “And you, my father, ” and this proves the speaker’s persona. The old man, at his deathbed, receives encouragement with pleads from his son to hold on to life. In the last stanza, the son as well as the father accepts death as merely a part of living.
Furthermore, the repetitious last lines serve to strengthen the speaker’s thoughts. In the first, third, and fifth stanzas, the last lines match each other; in the second and fourth stanzas, the final lines match. The final stanza combines the last lines from the odd and even-numbered stanzas for an additional line. This portrays the ongoing war between life and death. The old man went back and forth between life and death as the stanzas’ last lines switched back and forth. In the end, the two last lines join together as the old man and his son accept that death is a part of life.
Next, the references to “good men,” “wild men,” and “grave men” display the three basic stages of life: birth, life, and death. In stanza three, the stanza pertaining to “good men,” the portion “the last wave by” depicts the old man’s generation as fewer and fewer still live. The color symbolism of the “green bay” lets us know that the speaker refers to the young and new generation of yesterday. Stanza four’s reference to “wild men” concerns the living part of life. It reveals the fact that men often learn too late to change their actions. The fifth stanza depicts the dying part of life in which the senses deteriorate. How the speaker depicts that “Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay” refers to the bright light many often reported seeing in near-death experiences. The blind may once again see this sign that death knocks on one’s door.
In the line “Do not go gentle into that good night,” the speaker refers to the night as good. Night replaces death in a metaphoric manner. The reference to that “good night” displays how good death may appear and how easily one attains it. This shows the reason the speaker persists for his father to hold on to life and not “go gentle into that good night.” Likewise, to “rage against the dying of the light” as the speaker pleads shows a similar appeal by the son. The dying of the light refers to life as a light that shines to prove existence. If the light dies, then the life has ceased to exist.
This poem, in villanelle form, artfully implies the universal theme of death’s inevitability. The son’s pleads to his father and the father’s pleads with death show conflicts that may arise in one at his deathbed. This man, the grave man, finishes the remainder of his life. From the stages of his life, hefinally reaches this one. The poem ends ambiguously hinting the acceptance of death by the father and the son.
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas
Many of us do not want to face death. To most it is a scary unknown that is a part of the life cycle we wish not to accept. Due to the fact that most of us do not understand why we go through the death process it makes it that much harder. We often try to fight death through faith, medicine, and will. We are always looking for an answer to prevent the occurrence. It is not so much our own death that we try to fight but the loss of a loved one. We can t image why this is happening. It s almost as though it s not real. Watching and waiting for that loved one to pass on into the next life. A life we re unsure of and don t want our love ones to enter without knowing they will be ok. We try everything in our power to change the inevitable. Dylan Thomas was a man who battled with this very same situation. During the time of his father s death Thomas encourage his father to fight against death. Thomas himself did not want to accept the fact his father was moving forward into a different life. He expressed his feelings regarding the situation in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night . Thomas s themes are traditional-love, death, mutability-and over the years he seemed to pass from religious doubt to joyous faith in God . Thomas Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night describes the wise men, good men, wild men, and grave men s fight against death.
The wise men s encounter with death is the first of four of the men Thomas refers to in the fight against death. Thomas describes the wise men as those who know that the darkness of death is right. It is also something that must come and it be accepted. They have learned through their years of wisdom that everyone dies and that when the time comes they will accept this as well. However, with the wisdom they have obtained in life it is hard to understand why there is not an answer to why we die. The wise men battle with the idea that through all their years of wisdom they have not been able to find away to prolong life and escape death. The wise men s feeling of death is conveyed through Thomas s own individual struggle from darkness towards some measure of light. Furthermore, wise men do not put up a fight against the dying process. The wise men s words of wisdom have no fury and power against this natural process but yet they refuse to quit the battle. They are constantly searching for a way to make their voices heard and for those around them to have a better understanding. They are constantly searching for an answer to the unknown, a way to fight. They have gained their wisdom throughout life and know that this life and wisdom will come to an end but still they fight and do not go gentle into that good night.
The good man s encounter with death is the second of the four men Thomas refers to in the fight against death. According to Thomas, too many good men go through life wishing their small contributions to life would mean so much more had they had the time to let them grow. Fewer and fewer good men exist on earth and as the last of the group wave by; they make extra efforts to allow their good deeds to be known. It is of major importance for the good man to make these last cries before accepting death. It gives him the feeling of accomplishment, that the great deeds were for a reason and met a purpose. When these good men encounter death they too fight for the chance to flourish in their achievements. They want more time to do more. So many contributions could be made to the human race had their only been enough time. They hate to say it s time to go when there s so much more they could do and achieve. Even at their last moments before crossing the threshold of death they are in a fit of rage against the dying of the light.
The wild men s encounter with death is the third of four men that Thomas refers to in the poem. In this poem, wild men are described as men who live freely having no worries in life. These are men that lived life to the fullest. They had no regrets of past actions. They kept their eyes on the future and never looked back to what could have been. They are happy with the path their life has taken and only want to do more and get the most of the little spec of time in the overall time span of the human race. If they happen to make contributions to others in life that s a plus for them, but not the main concern. Unfortunately, living freely can lead to regret. Sometimes you have the though of how could I have made things better? What could I have done to get even more of the time I had on earth? Did I miss things I wish I hadn t? The bad thing about regret is there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the situation but learn. Sometimes learning from regret can be too late as well. Therefore, wild men also fight the good fight to avoid death.
The grave men s encounter with death is the last of the four men Thomas refers to in his poem. During life these men were blinded. They did not see life s gifts and what they were offered. They missed the important things that make life meaningful and valuable. Some of these things are irreplaceable and if they aren t received the first time around they could be lost forever. As they approach death, their eyes begin to see clearly and sharply like a telescope what they missed and how it s too late to go back. The grave man that is blind to the goodness of life and the importance of those around them misses so many opportunities to make life better than it was. Unfortunately, it is too late to turn back the hands of time. They see what life means, how it is vitally important to fight for the right to live and not take it for granted. So even at the last moment the grave man realizes his mistakes and what he missed before. With this in mind, the grave man finds a rage within and fights against the dying of the light.
In conclusion, this nineteen – line poem often referred to as a villanelle, shows the reader how valuable and precious life can be. Thomas makes his point quite clear by showing regardless of who you are and how you have lived life there is always time to make it better. More importantly, the message here is not to give up on life despite what the past contains but to move forward and fight. Thomas makes every effort to have the reader understand the value of life.
Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night , written by Dylan Thomas, has an easily recognizable meaning. The meaning of the poem is delivered by particular poetic techniques. Examples of metaphors, similes and repetition are all present in this poem and they create interesting twists that make it more enjoyable for the reader. The following paragraphs will discuss both the meaning of Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night and the poetic techniques which further emphasize and bring about that meaning.
Almost all observers of this poem would be able to agree on a few aspects of Thomas s writing. For one, the speaker in the poem is a son pleading with his father to fight against the coming of death. This is expressed quite obviously through the words, rage, rage against the dying of the light . (3) The son desperately wants to convey to his father that he wants him to fight against death. At the same time, however, he feels he should be manly about it and not reveal his true emotions. This could be the reason why the son may come across to the reader as being very objective concerning a usually highly emotional subject matter such as death. Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night examines four groups of men; wise men, good men, grave men, and wild men. The son tells the father that all four groups possess some sort of regret once it comes down to looking death in the face. Wise men, facing death, know at their end dark is right (4). They knew their time for death has come but they are regretful that their wisdom won t save them from it. The good men wanted their behavior to be rewarded, but instead their frail deeds danced in a green bay (8). The wild men took part in too much so-called fun, and ended up looking back on their lives as nothing but wasted time. They grieved (the sun) on its way (11), always living for the moment, and accomplishing nothing. The wild men are therefore not that wild after all. They too, do not go gentle into that good night and are scared of death just like everyone else. Unlike wild men, grave men are regretful in the face of death because they took life too seriously. The speaker is trying to convey to the reader that his father contains facets of all four groups of men. All four types, however different they may outwardly seem, are alike when it comes to death. They all rage against it, trying to delay its coming. Since all these men fought against death, the son pleads to his father that he should as well.
Dylan Thomas uses several poetic techniques to further emphasize the son s pleading with his father. Blind eyes could blaze like meteors (14) is an example of a simile. A simile, a figure of speech in which two essentially unlike things are explicitly compared by means of like or as, captures the reader s attention. Another poetic technique, repetition, is used to emphasize important points the speaker wants to convey to the reader. Rage, rage against the dying of the light uses the word rage twice in each line as well as at the end of each stanza to let the reader know how strongly he believes that in fighting against the coming of death. Metaphors are also quite evident in this poem, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night . For example, close of day (2), referring to nighttime, could be a metaphor for death. Sad height (16) could also be representing the brink of death. These techniques are used to make the reader think a little bit more into what he or she is observing. They also make the poem a lot more interesting and fun to discuss.
In conclusion, poetic techniques such as similes, metaphors, and repetition give emphasized meaning to the poem. The meaning of the poem is directly related to the impact these techniques contain. Dylan Thomas tells us of a son pleading with a father to fight against the coming of death and accentuates his reasoning by use of these poetic techniques.
In the poem, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas presents the poem s theme and tone through a son s desperate plea with his dying father. With the repetition of the lines, Rage, rage against the dying of the light and Do not go gentle into that good night, the narrator emphasizes the son s desperation (1,3). With the use of the word, rage, he intentionally invokes feelings of passion and aggressiveness towards death and its inevitability. The writer implies that one should embrace life to its very end and when the time comes, challenge death with pride and without regret. By using the examples of wise, good, wild, and grave men, the narrator in Thomas s poem tries to convince his dying father to not give in by exploring the troubles and feelings others might face when confronted with death.
The son begins his argument by explaining to his father how wise men face death. He tells his father, wise men at their end know that dark is right, meaning that they know death is unavoidable and still they resist it with all their might (4). The son explains to his father, that their words had forked no lightning, meaning they always spoke the truth, and though they know that death follows life, wise men still choose to not go gentle in to that good night (5,6).
The narrator s next point of persuasion is illustrated when he tells his father how
good men met death with regret of lost opportunities. The wise men felt that they could have done greater deeds if only they had been dealt a better hand in life. He tells his
father of good men s regret and that they cry about how bright their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, if only death had not claimed them (7-8). The narrator ends this point by explaining to his father that good men rage, rage against the dying of the light, and that he should too (9).
Wild men, the son then tells his father, face death with the realization that their lives had been wasted. These were the men who, caught and sang the sun in flight, and had lived for the moment without any thought of the future (10). The wild men learned that it was too late to change their ways and, too late, they grieved for their lost lives (11). Finally, with the understanding that death had come too quickly, they do not go gentle into that good night, but instead choose to live life to its very end (12). This is another attempt by the son to convince his father to not follow their example.
His last point of argument is based on how grave men face death. Unlike wild men, grave men are regretful in the face of death because they took life too seriously. They see with blinding light, that they too have wasted their lives (13). The grave men realized that their blind eyes could blaze like meteors, and they could have led a more exciting life (14). With this realization, they rage against the dying of the light (15).
The narrator ends his argument with a direct plea to his father. He begs his father, there on the sad height, to curse or bless me now with your fierce tears, wanting him to show some sign of resistance (16-17). He demands that his father not
Go gentle into that good night, but instead that he rage, rage against the dying of the
light, (18-19). With this last request he asked his father to fight the coming of death, so that he might live his life to its fullest and not simply give in to death s call.
In this poem, Dylan Thomas has presented a son s desperate plea for his father to resist death until his dying breath. With the narrator s careful choice of words and aggressive, passionate tone, he is able to provoke within the reader the very emotions the son is trying to release within his father. The writer sends a simple message to the father and to all men who will listen: Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light.