Life and Death in Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle and Frost's Stopping by Woods

2066 Words9 Pages
Life and Death in Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle and Frost's Stopping by Woods "'Carpe Diem'('seize the day') is a Latin phrase which has come to denote an important literary motif especially common in lyric poetry: the encouragement to make the most of present life while it lasts, or to 'live for the moment," (The UVic Writer's Guide). Both Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and Dylan Thomas's "Do Not Go Gentle" explore the idea that people should attempt to live life to its fullest. Thomas's poem, written to his father, employs a very emotional, pleading style that deeply appeals to the audience, while Frost's poem, a series of thoughts about his own eventual death, exhibits a more pensive, practical, subtle…show more content…
It is an exhortation to end with a bang instead of a whimper" (Stanford 117). The theme of "Do Not Go Gentle" appears throughout every line of the poem. For example, in the line "Old age should burn and rave at close of day," (Thomas 2570) Thomas insists that his father not give up or "lose heart" (Stanford 117) simply because death is approaching. "Curse, bless, me now, with your fierce tears I pray" (Thomas 2570) is "a plea for the persistence of individuality to the end, without remission," (Stanford 117). Thomas desperately wants his father to fight his impending death, instead of simply accepting it. Thomas attempts to raise the father?s spirits and hopes with optimistic examples of those who do not simply acquiesce to death. Some of these examples are "wise men", "good men", "wild men", and "grave men" (Thomas 2570). Thomas wants to impress upon his father that he has a choice to make; he can either choose to comply to death or he can fight it with all of his remaining energy. Thomas engages an imperative, urgent tone to enthuse his father and to point out how little time the old man has left. This tone is evident throughout the poem, but especially in the last stanza. As the poem progresses, Thomas? insistence increases; he becomes more and more frantic and determined to convince his father to stay alive as time is running out. Using metaphors comparing death to other objects and events, Thomas tries to make death seem less
Open Document