The poems “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” by Dylan Thomas and “To an Athlete Dying Young” by A. E. Housman both discuss how each author views death. But, both poems have drastically different opinions upon the matter. Thomas in “Do Not Go Gentle” is full despair and hatred towards death, and is tries to convince his father not to accept death. Whereas, Housman in “To an Athlete” expresses that a young death is beautiful and glorious. That a young death shouldn’t be just seen as sad, but more as honorable.
In this poem, Thomas mainly talks about death, which is the ending point in a life that will inevitably happen to everyone, but it is more likely for older individuals to experience it. One stanza of the poem, “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night,” where Thomas really emphasizes to not let death consume you easily is, “Do not go gentle into that good night, / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (Lines 1-3). Based from this, it portrays that Thomas is using symbolism to show that to not give up to death easily. When he states “Do not go gentle into that good night” it is evident that he is meaning to imply to not be gentle or subtle about death since, “night” would symbolize to further mean as one’s eternal
For example, the narrator pleads, “Do not go gentle into that good night / Old age should burn and rave at close of day” (1433). This second line right away changes the tone of the poem, as it went from the first line sounding as if it was a demand to not fall asleep, to a plea to stay alive. As I continue “the close of day” and “night” draw parallels to death as the narrator is begging to someone as they come closer to death. Thomas believes that instead of resigning to death, instead of waiting for time to run out, you are to “burn and rave” or go out with a bang. The second stanza refers back to what I touched on earlier as Thomas wants an alternative to go against a slow, natural death. “Though wise men at their end know dark is right / Because their words had forked no lightning they / Do not go gentle into that good night” (1433). As a reader, I believe this holds true, as I have never been on the brink of death but I have the thought of what if I were to die right now? Would I be satisfied with what I accomplished and the way I went out? The first line in that stanza explains that, even though men know that “dark” (death) is “right” (natural), if they may feel like they made no impact on society, or didn’t “fork any lightning” they do not give in to death, they fight and try to make what they feel is right before they
In Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," the speaker is a son talking to his aging father and pleading with him to fight against death. The son knows that death is the inevitable end to every life, but feels one should not give up to death too easily. By using metaphor, imagery, and repetition, Thomas reinforces the son's message that aging men see their lives with sudden clarity and realize how they might have lived happier, more productive lives. These men rail against fate, fighting for more time to set things right.
e poem,” Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” was published by Dylan Thomas in 1951 and is about preserving through trials and hard time. Although the author seemed to take a stance that those who are older should not “go without a fight”. This poem talks about surviving and preserving, and trying and pushing as hard as possible to overcome. This poem is also talking about his father, and his will for him to not die.
Firstly there is a lot of repetition, such as when the author states, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”. This line is repeated 4 times in the poem, and you can see that repetition was very important to Thomas, as he chose a Villanelle, which is a style of poem that relies greatly on repetition. The author is telling his father to “rage, rage against” (fight), “the dying of the light”, which essentially means the dying of life, or just simply, death. The fact that this is repeated so often makes it stick with you long after you have finished reading and, therefore the idea of death stays with you for a while after reading the poem as well, and it makes you want to fight back against, and not accept, it. Secondly, the author uses one very evident euphemism, when he says “that good night”. In this case, “good night” refers to death. This is a very important part of the poem because, not only is it repeated four times and evident in the title, this shows that, when talking about his father’s impending death, Thomas does not actually want to say the words to either soften the blow for himself, or for his father. Which either shows a great deal of sorrow or compassion in his character. This reinforces the theme, as it is a euphemism for death and describes it as something to avoid, similar to a kid fighting his bedtime as his parents tell
Thomas realizes it is human nature to take life for granted; until death approaches. Thomas wrote this poem for his father, to tell him that there is so much more for him here, living, to do. The only way to deter death is through fury and frenzy. Death comes too quickly for most people and only with "rage" can death be defied.
Both "Death Be Not Proud" and "Do not go gentle into that good night" do not necessarily see death as a negative thing. In looking at the title "Do not go gentle into that good night" one notices that Thomas calls the night, presumably a metaphor for death, good. He also says "wise men at their end know dark is right" (4). This would suggest that he believes that death is a necessary occurrence. If Thomas sees death as necessary, then why does he say "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" (19)? The answer to this can be found in line 16 when he addresses his father. Throughout the whole poem he names different types of men, then in the last stanza he specifically names his father. I think that in this poem Thomas is trying to express that even though he knows that death is natural he doesn't want his father to die. This creates a sort of conflict within the poem where Thomas knows that eventually death will come for everyone, but he wants to put it off as long as possible in the case of his father.
Contrary to Frost?s peaceful, luring diction and images, Dylan Thomas uses forceful, irate words to deter death. "No poet gives a greater sense of the feel of life" as Thomas, who provokes the reader to "rage" against death (Ackerman 407). Thomas conveys a resistance towards death with images of fury and fighting, as in "do not go gentle." Vivacious words as "blaze" and "burn" intensify desires to live on and to the fullest. With images of "good night" and "dying of the light," Thomas conveys death as the "end where only darkness prevails" (Savage 381). He takes his "stand within concrete, particular existence, he places birth and death at the poles of his vision" (Savage 381). "Life [for Thomas] begins at birth and ceases at death" therefore leaving no room for a previous life or an after life (Savage 381). Excessive images of anger and rage towards death exemplify the passion Thomas feels for life. His villanelle repeats the theme of living and fury through the most forceful two lines, "do not go gentle into that good night" and "rage, rage against the dying of the light." Contrasting images of light and darkness in the poem create the warmth of living and the coldness in death, so as to shun people from choosing the bleak, bitter frigidity of death.
William James, an American philosopher and psychologist once said “believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.” Life, regardless of how close it lies to death, is worth keeping. The poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”, by Dylan Thomas is a son’s appeal to a fading father. He shows his father that men from all walks of life confront death, however, they still war against it. Thomas uses figurative language to classify men into four different categories to persuade his father to realize that a life, regardless of how it was lived, should be fought for.
In the sixth and final stanza, Thomas speaks to his father directly, having finished his four examples of men who fight death ("And you, my father, there on that sad height"). Thomas implores his father on the precipice of death to speak ill or good, as long as it is done with passion ("Curse, bless me know with your fierce tears, I pray"). The poet realizes passion may stave off death. He also hopes his father might identify with the four types of men cited in the poem as Thomas apparently viewed his father as an intelligent and decent, but very ill, free spirit.
This is expressed by the multiple examples of old men whom regret certain aspects of their lives and defy death even when they know their time is up. The speaker is urging his father to fight against old age and death. The meaning and subject of the poem influence the tone and mood. The tone is one of frustration and insistence. Thomas is slightly angry and demanding. His words are not a request, they are an order. The mood of the poem is is serious and solemn due to the poem focusing mainly on the issue of death. This mood and tone is created by words such as “burn”(2), “Grieved”(11) and “rage”(3) along with phrases such as “crying how bright”(7), “forked no lightning”(5), “near death”(13) and “fierce tears”(17). The insistent feeling is also created by the repetition of the lines “Do not go gentle into that good night”(1), and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”(3). The figurative language used also affect how the meaning, tone and mood are interpreted.
When reviewing the work of Dylan Thomas, one can see that he changes his style of language, such as using metaphors and imagery, to fit each poem accordingly. In the poems, "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night," and "Fern Hill," which are the poems I will be looking at in this presentation, he uses different techniques and language to make each poem more effective to the reader. I have chosen these works because they are his most well known, I shall start off by reading the poem “Do Not Go Gentle…” even if it was written after Fern Hill, as it is the most famous of all his works. "Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night" is addressed to Thomas' father, giving him advice
Throughout the poem, Thomas relates the passing of a day to a lifetime. He refers to death as ‘that good night’ and ‘the dying of the light’ repeatedly. This metaphor shows the inevitability of death, in the same way that the end of each day is inevitable. Additionally, this metaphor comes at the end of the last line of each stanza, making the form imitate the ‘good night’ coming at the end of the day and death at the end of life. Despite this acknowledgement of the assuredness of death, Thomas insists that ‘old age’, a use of metonymy to represent the elderly, should ‘burn and rave at close of day’. Burning
People would not want to hear that their loved ones merely gave up and died passively. This poem in itself is a celebration of life, the poem is not only about death but it is an affirmation of life. To further emphasise the points being made Dylan Thomas utilises a wide range of literary devices. Parallelism is used from lines seven to fifteen to juxtapose the different attitudes of the so called “genres” of men at their death. This is used to outline that if you continuously lead one set type of lifestyle whether it is as a “wild man”, a “grave man” or a “good man” you will not be satisfied when your time comes to die. The only true way to be satisfied is to live a life of balance; only with a good contrast can you be at peace.