Dylan Thomas Literary Analysis

1453 Words Feb 11th, 2008 6 Pages
Dylan Thomas Literary Works Analysis
"And Death Shall Have No Dominion" is a poem in three nine-line stanzas. Each of the stanzas begins and ends with the title line, which echoes Romans 6:9 from the King James translation of the Christian New Testament: "Death hath no more dominion."(Dylan Thomas, 30) When Saint Paul said in his letter to the Romans that "death hath no more dominion," he meant that those who had chosen salvation would not suffer eternal damnation and spiritual death. Instead, they would be resurrected on the Day of Judgment and given new spiritual bodies. The title and the refrain give the theme of the poem which is resurrection and also introduce its characteristics, rhythm, and solemn tone. Thomas makes it clear from
…show more content…
When dead men reach the final stage of death, therefore, even though their bodies are gone, "they shall have stars at elbow and foot." The paradox of having elbows and feet and yet no body reiterates the poem's theme of resurrection. More important than the body is the spirit or the life force. "Though lovers are lost," the poet says, "love shall not." It is not people but people's spiritual force that shall endure.
There is much religious sounding language in the first stanza, in which many are echoes of the language of the King James Bible: "naked they shall be one," "stars at elbow and foot," and "they shall rise again." There is no Christianity here, however. God is never mentioned, there is no talk of souls or of salvation, and the moment at which all shall or shall not happen is not specified as any sort of Judgment Day. Whatever happens to people happens because that is the nature of things, not because a supreme being such as God has ordained it.
In the second stanza, Thomas treats the pain of life and death. Even if the pain should be bad enough for people's faith to "snap in two," they will still not suffer a final death. It is nature, not faith, which determines one's ultimate fate. Some may lose their faith as a result of the suffering inherent in life. Perhaps like Thomas they might turn away from the traditional faith of their childhood toward something else. Whatever they decide about God and the universe, their life force will not die because it is
Open Document