Do you know someone named "Dylan"? Chances are he was
probably named (indirectly) after Dylan Thomas! Thomas's father
named him after a Celtic sea god, and when the younger Thomas
became famous, "Dylan" became a popular name in Britain and the
When Dylan Thomas was four years old, he was already able to
recite poetry by Shakespeare.
Dylan Thomas was a colorful character; his boorish, drunken
behavior and self-destructive ways were legendary. For example,
some sources claim that, while driving drunk on his way to meet
Charlie Chaplin, he crashed his car into Chaplin's tennis court. It's
hard to sort out fact from fiction, but if he were alive today, he'd
be tabloid material right up there with Tom Cruise, Paris Hilton,
and Britney Spears.
A good reason you should always "enter to win": Dylan Thomas
became famous after winning a poetry contest in a newspaper in
The speaker asserts that old men at the
end of their lives should resist death as
strongly as they can. In fact, they should
only leave this world kicking and screaming,
furious that they have to die at all. At the
end of the poem, we discover that the
speaker has a personal stake in this issue:
his own father is dying.
Dying should not be accepted passively .
The loss of life should be regretted and
fought against until the bitter end.
Defiant –To combat or challenge death.
Not to go willingly into death but the
fight it with the last breath.
Fiery – spirited. Again to show that one
must not die willingly but to fight death.
Villanelle: Popularised mainly in France
in the 16th century. It usually expresses
pastoral, idyllic sentiments.
 Lines: 19
 Number of stanzas: 6
 Lines in each stanza: Three lines
(tercet) in the first 5 stanzas; four lines
(quatrain) in the last stanza
Refrains: The first and third lines of the
stanza one must be repeated in the other
◦ Line 1 on the first stanza repeated in:
Stanza 2,4,6
◦ Line 3 of the first stanza repeated in:
Stanza 3,5,6
End Rhyme
◦ aba in the first 5 stanza
◦ abaa in the last stanza
Stanza 1
The speaker addresses an unknown
listener, telling him not to "go gentle
into that good night."
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Metaphor : DEATH, sunset his
To talk furiously or
wildly or deliriously
approaching demise.
Oxymoron: ‘good death’ if one
view death as not good
Pun: 1. death 2. goodbye
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
A fit of violent anger
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Point of View: Thomas begins the poem with secondperson point of view, telling his father and other readers to
"fight till the last gasp," as Shakespeare said.
go gentle: Go becomes a copulative verb, permitting the
use of the adjective gentle rather than the adverb gently.
close of day: end of life
light: will to live; spirit, soul, mind; hope
Stanza 2
Metaphor: night/dark compared to
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Metaphor: Lightning is compared to attention,
notice--that is, their words had received no attention. ,
they may not have achieved everything they were
capable of yet.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Point of View: Thomas shifts to third-person point of
view. Here he is making a declarative statement when
he says wise men "do not go gentle."
right: inevitable, unavoidable; natural
forked no lightning: failed to command attention;
failed to express a startling or revolutionary concept.
In meteorology, "forked lightning" describes a lightning
strike that divides into two or more branches
resembling the roots of a plant--or, metaphorically, a
they do: enjambment
Stanza 3
are about to crash against the shore, or die
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Personification: how great their actions
could've been if they'd been allowed to live
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Metaphor: compared to death
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Man is like a wave, death is like the breaking of the
wave on the shore, the sea is like life, and the
dancing waters in the ocean are like beautiful
Point of View: Thomas continues third-person point
of view.
Parallel Ideas: Good men has the force of wise men in
the previous stanza. The message expressed in both
stanzas is similar: Men facing death realize they
could have done more and thus fight against the
dying of the light.
crying: weeping or shouting
bright their: another instance of enjambment
Stanza 4
the world they celebrated was slowly
dissolving around them as they age and
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in
Metaphor: Implied comparison of achievement
to catching the fire of the sun and to singing
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Alliteration: sang sun; learn late
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Point of View: Thomas continues third-person point of
Parallel Ideas: Wild men has the force of good men in
Stanza 3 and wise men in Stanza 2. The message is the
same as in Stanzas 2 and 3.
Wild . . . flight: These men had their moment in the
sun, so to speak. But they lived most of their lives in
shadows, grieving over daily travails.Word “flight”
implies the short lifespan of people living in this world.
they grieved it: dismissed it; sent it. They did not seize
the moment and capture what it offered them.
Stanza 5
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding
See sight, blinding blind blaze
Blaze gay rage
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Light-hearted, sportive,
mirthful, showy and brilliant
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Point of View: Thomas continues third-person point of
Parallel Ideas: Grave men has the force of wild men in
Stanza 4, good men in Stanza 3 and wise men in Stanza 2.
The message is the same as in Stanzas 2 and 3.
Grave men: Serious men. It seems that Thomas veers
close to bathos (anti-climax)here, for the words can be
read as a prosaic pun.
blinding sight: an oxymoron to convey the idea that
dying men with failing eyes see with illuminating insight
blaze . . . gay: A blind man can see in other ways and
even "blaze" with ideas and zest for life
Stanza 6
verge of death
And you, my father, there on the 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.
curse, bless: In effect, "if you cursed me, you would
be blessing me." Cursing his son would show that
he still has fire, spirit, the will to fight

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