Dylan Thomas was a well-known poet and writer whose poems were very famous, such as “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” and “The Play for Voice.” He was born on 27 October 1914, and he died on 9 November 1953. He was very popular in his lifetime, and he is still known by his works after his death. One of his works that I think is the most significant poem is “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” This work had been published about two years before his death – 1951, and it is also a part of the collection In Country Sleep.
Dylan used the poem to express his feeling while his father was losing health and strength, encouraging his father to hold on to life.
The theme of this poem is death. At the first line of the poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” he wants to tell the unknown listeners not to go into that good night. We can easily find a poetic device of metaphor when he used the word night for death.
We also have an extended metaphor in which day is life and night is death. The first line is also the title of the poem, repeated four times throughout the poem. The next two lines are “Old age should burn and rave at close of day/ Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” In the second line, we can see what the poet wants to show us about how the elderly should fight death with their remaining health. In addition, when he says “Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” he wants to clearly confirm that this is the processing of the age – the death of old age. The first stanza is the thesis statement of the poem about aging and death.
The first line of second stanza “Though wise men at their end know dark is right,” the metaphor of darkness is continually used; dark represents death. The meaning of this sentence is the clever men think that we are all going to die – it’s totally a natural process. However, at the second line “Because their words had forked no lighting they / Do not go gentle into that good night.” This sentence has an implication. The “word” in this line is the action of the clever people. The poet shows the unknown listener that though the clever men know that the death of aging is natural, they still try to fight it; they “do not go gentle to that good night.”
This idea is continually developed in the next two stanzas: “The wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight grieved it on its way” and “the grave men who see with blinding sight.” They still fight against the dying of light – the death of aging. In the final stanza, “And you, my father, there on the sad height,” we know the unknown listener is the poet’s father, and he is dying. The poet by this poem, tries to beg and encourage his father to fight against the “dying of the light.” The speaker ends the poem by two lines: “Do not go gentle to that good night / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” These are also the two lines that were repeated throughout the poem.
This poem is one of the famous poems in Dylan Thomas’s collection. The poem not only is an encouragement that tells us not give up but fight against the dying of aging, but also he wants to tell his father not go to the darkness – “Do not go gentle to the good night”.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night: Stanza 6 Summary” Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 5 Feb. 2013