Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

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Dylan Thomas wrote “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” as a counter argument against the prevailing attitude most have towards death because he felt it was important to not be resigned and docile to death. He defies conventional norms within the poem to illustrate that nothing should be accepted at face value, that even events such as death should be met with resistance. This can be seen in Thomas deliberate misuse of words. For instance, he could have used gently instead of gentle in the title, but in not doing so it brings to mind almost a genteel manner, like how gentlemen would greet death. Consequently, this is what Thomas is urging everyone not to do, to not go to death like how a gentleman would. His use of gentle instead of…show more content…
In this repetition he’s able to convey adequately what he’s feeling. The word rage bears connotations of intensity and resistance and it is repeated throughout the poem eight times. This reflects and expresses the tone of anger Thomas wants to instill in us about death. He wants us to be angry that the end is near. The emotional urgency of Thomas’ message comes to fruition from the initial groundwork and underlying structure that the villanelle form lends to the poem. The villanelle form is originally designed for French which has more rhyming words than English. This form in English is then put at a disadvantage, just how people are disadvantaged by the foreknowledge they must one day die. In using an unnatural form he ties it into the subject matter at hand, how humans are by design supposed to die but he’s suggesting that there is worth gained in defying normal conventions. He chooses the most rigid and structural poetical form to juxtapose and highlight this radical idea of resisting death. He purposefully chooses a constrictive set format to represent death itself, the rules to a villanelle do not change, just as how death cannot be avoided. Yet by the inclusion of the iambic pentameter which rises when reading instead of falling, almost like a heartbeat, he proves that even in the containment of the form there are ways to combat what is initially held as fixed or unavoidable. This trend is carried as well by the variation in the pattern of long and short
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