Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (Written in 1951) -By Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) First Stanza The word gentle is used to describe the personality of one individual . Since, Thomas speaks directly towards the reader, we can assume that this poem was written for a single person, his father, whom at the time was growing old after serving in the army and the world wars. These two words, along with the repeated "rage" at the beginning of line 3, create a sense of anger, rebellion and frustration in the stanza. They connect with each other. Thomas is building up emotional tension in the poem here. Direct reference to his father,. (1) 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. The repetition of the word rage makes it sound like a chant, as if Thomas were encouraging his father to battle against death. The word rage bears connotations of anger and resistance and Thomas uses it as a way of expressing that death should not take his father’s life easily and that he should continue to resist. Night is a metaphor for death. The first line asks the reader to resist death as easily or quickly as it comes. The word “good” suggests that Thomas is assuring his father that death will be painless. The dying of the light can be interpreted in two ways. The literal meaning is that the person is slowly falling into the clutches of death but it can also be seen as Thomas asking his father to hold on to hope which is symbolized as light in this context, and to fight against the opposition which is death. (1) It is a villanelle poem with 5 stanzas with 3 lines each and the last stanza has four lines. Poem is written in iambic pentameter. First Stanza Summary The line “Do not go gentle into that good night” basically is Thomas’s way of persuading his dying father to resist death as much as he can. The phrase “Do not” is a more of a command than Thomas giving his father an alternate choice. Thomas is showing his father how he feels death should be encountered with, he’s giving his advice on how to continue living on. All the lines follow this same ideology that Thomas is trying to bring to the table. The phrases “close of day” and “dying of light” are both metaphors for death. In the second line Thomas tells his father that even at old age, you must continue to rave and resist the day of your demise. “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.” Second Stanza The first kind of men that Thomas Wise men know that death is an Subjects the reader from the beginning to speaks about. inevitable factor and that it must believe that what is about to be said, is happen as shown by the word “right” about to contradicted. . Dark is another metaphor for death. “Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they (2)Do not go gentle into that good night.” This represents the actions, speeches or warnings that men of wisdom have bore upon the people in the world. (2) Thomas’ advice is repeated once again, as a reminder to his father. Could be interpreted as that Thomas’ father is hard of hearing or too old too remember his son’s advice. This talks about the effect of their words on people. Thomas is trying to say that wise men refuse to die because they feel that they havent truly passed on their knowledge to the world, or that their time spent in it has not been properly spent. Second Stanza Summary In this stanza, Thomas is trying to conclude that wise men are the people that are aware that “dark is right” . Dark is another metaphor for death. However he concludes that the reason these men do not resist death gently is because they have not truly completed what they felt they could have achieved in life with their “words”. The term words refers to their actual words of wisdom or knowledge that they had wished to pass on. The expression “forked no lightning” can be interpreted in many ways. It can be seen as a way of describing how little effect their wise men’s words have had on the people of the world unlike lightning, which when it strikes, leaves a mark. So in conclusion “their words forked no lightning” means that the wise men failed to leave their mark in the world with their knowledge and this is why they “do not go gentle into that good night”( resist 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.” Third Stanza The second type of men Frail shows that their whatever they have already done has not been enough to make a difference Connotations of the sea are presented here. Thomas could be Theme of light and saying that these men are about to darkness again crash like waves on the shore represented here. where they meet death. The men regret now what they could have done and what they failed to do. “Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (3) This means the ocean. In this This could be a reference to the movement patterns of the waves. Since the waves symbolize the nest generation of people in the world, the word danced is used to describe the people’s actions (3) The last line of the first stanza is repeated once more. Thomas is trying to say that true goodness of human nature is determined by those who continue to fight against the inevitable outcome of death. context, Thomas describes the world as a sea, and the colour green is significant as it refers to all the living things that exist in the sea such as plants. Third Stanza Summary In this stanza, Thomas shows that even good men will battle against death. There is a lot of imagery of the sea in this stanza . What Thomas is trying to conclude in this stanza is that the last generation of good men regret how little they managed to do whilst they lived in the “green bay”. Now they face the end of their lives as they are swept away from the green bay and are about to possibly be crashed against the shores or rocks where their lives will end. In this context, the green bay can be seen by the reader as the sea, as the sea contains living creatures such as plants, hence the colour green. But it can also be seen as the living world in which life exists in. The last wave is a metaphor for the last generation of good men who are about to meet their end. So what the stanza is trying to show is that these men ponder about how their deeds could have made a great change in the “green bay” which is the world. The word “danced” imitates the movements of the way in which waves move, so furthermore, it describes the actions and deeds of the last good men. Their deeds are described as frail, as they possibly may have not managed to achieve what the good men hoped they could. Also, waves constantly move away from where they once were. Thomas is implying that the good men who are the last wave also move away, but they move away from the green bay which is the living world and possibly crash on a shore or rocks which would be where waves that were once formed would be destroyed, and where the good mean would meet their demise. We know they regret that they haven't done all they could because Thomas says they were “crying”. The good men cry how they could have made a difference in the green bay( which is the world) whilst they were there, but now their wave has been swept away from the green bay, symbolizing the passing from the living world to death. “Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Fourth Stanza The sun bears connotations of light and warmth. Again here, it symbolizes the youth of men which burned brightly while they lived their whole lives just celebrating Another kind of men are described here. The term wild suggest that they are stubborn, playful and do not consider how important their life is They “sang the sun” would mean that they praised life by singing of its praises for giving them their youth Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. (4) The realization that they have become older has finally hit them (4) Message of the poem once more repeated here. This term shows that like a plane which is “in flight” life and time ar constantly moving on This term describes sunset. The sun is now setting on their youth and the wild men grieve as they slowly begin to age Fourth Stanza Summary In this stanza, Thomas is trying to show that men who lived their lives only celebrating but never truly accomplishing anything like the wise or good men, will repent for their actions when their youth leaves them and it will be too late for them to change. “The sun in flight” shows how their youth carries on along the time where they get to enjoy it but the word flight, suggests that their youth is moving across the sky( which would be Time) very quickly. So Thomas is trying to tell his father that aging is a natural process and that all men who were once young fail to realize this. In some ways it seems that the reason Thomas decided not to show that these men had accomplished at least something unlike the wise and good men was because he wanted to show his father that his father had accomplished something in his youth ( taking part in the world war) and has not wasted his youth like these men, so he has no reason to grieve the loss of his youth and furthermore, should not feel like there is no point to fighting off death anymore. Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Fifth Stanza The word grave is a pun. It could mean that the men are very serious, or could be mean that these are men, close to death An oxymoron used here as the word “blinding” which means absence of vision, is linked with sight. Their vision is still in the process of fading away. This can be interpreted literally as men who because of aging are slowly losing their sights or it can be seen as their lives, which is symbolized by light is slowly fading away Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. (5) Men who are close to their deaths (5) The last line of the stanza fits in with the idea that the men will “blaze like meteors” as both suggest that that these men will not give up life without a fight and without living it to their maximum like how Thomas wished his own father to live his life. Blaze like meteors suggest that these men will die after giving life everything they can and trying to fulfill as much as they can. Fifth Stanza Summary In this stanza, Thomas shows that grave men, who can be seen as serious men, or men who are close to their death, still have the chance to control their destiny and how they wish to die. The oxymoron “blinding sight” shows that even though they may be losing sight and slowly get older, these men see that they can change the way in which they go out in. That is what the word “sight” means. It refers to the idea that these men still can see the possibility of changing how they decide to leave the world and die, and as Thomas describes, they will “blaze like meteors” which means that these men will give up their claims to life, only after going out with a bang. The final line of the stanza concludes that the father must continue to rage and resist death. Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Sixth Stanza Thomas directly addresses his father for the first time, this could mean he has come to the conclusion of his point. Father is on the verge of death, or on his death bed while his son is telling him this. And you, my father, there on that sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Thomas wants his father to continue to battle against death even if the odds are Thomas will be upset that his father is crying and wants against him. The “tears” which Thomas to hold on to his life but he will be happy that his father wants his father to shed show that he does not so willingly allow himself to lose what little he wants his father to be upset about losing has left that life can take away from him. Also the words his life and wants him to be upset about curse and bless create sibilance. This soothing sound is dying. made because it creates the impression that Thomas is whispering these to his dying father. The juxtaposition of these two contrasting words placed together implies that they can be thought of as opposites, but also as the same thing as they will lead to the same end result. Thomas repeats his advice to his father one last time before the poem ends, symbolizing the possibility that the father had just passed away on his death bed. Sixth Stanza Summary This is the final stanza of the poem. For the first time, Thomas directly addresses his father, whom seems to be on the verge of death himself as showing by the phrase “sad height” which could mean that the father is metaphorically looking down from a cliff or mountain into the valley where death awaitens him. It is not heaven which Thomas is talking about when he says this as the word “sad” bears the connotations of loss and grief. When Thomas asks his father to curse and bless him, it is because Thomas wants his father to cry about the fact that he’s now dying and he wants his father to put up a last struggle against odds which are inevitably stacked against him. The “tears” symbolizes the father’s grief from slowly losing his life and the word “fierce” shows the struggle and resistance towards death even on his death bed. Seeing his father suffering will bring him pain, hence why Thomas would say that it would curse him, but seeing that his father knows that his life is still worth holding on to is why Thomas says that it would bless him. The message of the poem, and Thomas’ advice , is both once more repeated where the poem ends. Thomas could have ended the poem like this because he wanted to show that once you can no longer fight against death, then there is nothing more left, just like the poem. An alternate interpretation could be that those were Thomas’ last words to his father before he died on his deathbed. And you, my father, there on that sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Themes Light and Darkness are one of the themes present in this poem. Light is used to symbolize life, hope and youth in the poem whereas darkness of any kind is always a metaphor for death, or aging. Structure The writing style is structured, just like Thomas’ argument to why his father should not give up on life. It is a villanelle poem with 5 stanzas with 3 lines each and the last stanza has four lines. Poem is written in iambic pentameter. This poem style might have been used because it has 5 stanzas, one to represent each year of the second world war. The poem is written in first person, but this is only made apparent in the last stanza where Thomas says “And you, my father”. Suggests that he remained detached when it came to generalizing all men but when it came to his father personally, he shows his emotions. The rhyming structure is ABA ABA etc. Language The poem bears powerful imagery and emotive language, as Thomas is speaking directly to his father and not to anyone else. The roles of family are also reversed here as it is the son who is giving advice to the father.