Literary Analysis Essay of Dylan Thomas ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’
‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ is a poem by Dylan Thomas. Based on the structure of the piece, it is considered a villanelle comprising of 19 lines divided into six stanzas where the first five include three lines and the last one four. As far as the rhyming pattern is concerned, the middle lines in each stanza rhymes with one another and the same applies to the first and third line. Its rhyme scheme follows ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA format. The poem addresses issues related to getting old and facing the reality of death. Here, readers are able recognize the notion of the speaker and put forward valuable themes that would encourage people to take a different view in approaching this phase in one’s life.
One of the important themes highlighted by Thomas in this piece is the interaction between life and death. Initially, it may seem as if the poem refers only to death. However, it also reflects the notion of life, particularly to those who are nearing the reality of death. To fully emphasize on these contrasting points, the author utilizes the symbols of night and day. Arguably, the poem shows the duality that exists between the two terms. For instance the line “though wise man at their end know dark is right | Because their words had forked no lightning they” (Thomas 1) shows the reality that death is inevitable and should be accepted. Despite this, it is also significant for people to keep on fighting and appreciating what life has to bring. Putting these ideas forward, readers are able to understand the perspective of the speaker in facing the reality of death and its interaction with life.
Another important theme emphasized by the poem comes from the attitude that people should consider in facing death. It may be true that acceptance is the first step in recognizing the inevitable. The author then puts forward the importance of not stopping and going out with a bang. This means people should not use death as an excuse to live life miserably but rather should continue to find ways to inspire and create impact to other people (Smith 1). For Thomas, this is what means by ‘do not go gentle’. Even if the night which symbolizes death, is fast approaching, this does not mean that one should be complacent or fade quietly when a lot of things can still be done.
Upon further analysis, the poem also effectively uses literary devices in order to provide depth and meaning to audiences. The most evident feature is the use of imagery wherein symbolisms of light and night reflect the realities of life and death respectively (GSCE 1). Equally, the use of metaphors and paradox enable allow the poem to emphasize its point further that even in midst of death, one should keep on fighting. Arguably, this remains to be a significant reason as to the choice of words by Thomas and how specific lines in stanzas are constructed.
Overall, ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ is an interesting poem written by Thomas Dylan. The piece continues to follow a unique structure (villanelle) that enables the author to convey messages in a more striking and effective manner. In seeking to portray the interaction between life and death, Dylan offers a multitude of imagery, symbolisms and other literary devices in order to strengthen the speaker’s point. Putting these points altogether, the speaker believes in seeking to show one’s commitment to life, there must be the continued interest to fight and not go gentle in the face of death.
GSCE. ‘Dylan Thomas: Do not go gentle into that good night’ BBC.co.uk. n.d. Web. Accessed 4 September 2014.
Smith, Nicole. ‘Poem Analysis of “Do not Go Gently into That Good Night” by Dylan Thomas’ Article Myriad. 6 Dec. 2011. Web. Accessed 4 September 2014.
Thomas, Dylan. ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’ Poets.org. n.d. Web. Accessed 4 September 2014.