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Interpretation of Poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” – Dylan Thomas

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This phrase appears four times in Thomas Dylan’s best-known villanelle poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

The speaker opens the poem with this phrase, saying, “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 speaker urges his father to struggle with death, which has upset the speaker for the decline of his father’s health. He believes that those who cry have not shown much brilliance in life. Hence, if they can survive longer, they would be able to achieve more success.

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Thomas used exhaustive method to make his opinion persuasive to his father. To show the universal relevance of his theme, the author created four different perspectives in his poem. They are the wide men who know that the cores of their lives are not knowledge and intelligence, the good men who become conscious that their good deeds won’t define their identity, the wild men who feel regretful for their shallow youth when they reach the old age, and the grave men who are exemplified in the fifth stanza “Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight/ Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay.” Men who are at the end of their lives realize that their physical disabilities can’t stop them from remaining strong or pursuing joy. Though all four men lived unalike lives, at the end of their lives, they come to the same conclusions: they should not base their identities on their youth, and they can live a wholesome life in their old age.

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Nearly every famous poet or artist has one proud work in particular that perfectly embodies the best of their unique talents. Every artist has their “most famous work,” and for Dylan Thomas, that poem is almost certainly Do not go gentle into that good night, the otherwise untitled poem (“Do not go gentle into that good night” is the first line of the work) that is certainly one of his most powerful works. The poem was initially published in a literary journal in 1951, and in one of Thomas’s own volumes the next year. It is a noticeably dark poem, concerning itself with the end of life, and of the personal struggle to hang onto life for as long as possible.

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Ultimately, be sure to read it quietly to yourself but then recite it out loud and note the difference

The poet is witnessing the end of a life and cannot seem to tolerate a gentle status quo. A villanelle is hard to get right but this example by Dylan Thomas is considered to be one of the best, the least contrived.

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«Dylan Thomas». Academy of American Poets (en inglés). «He took his family to Italy, and while in Florence

Ferris, Paul (1989). Dylan Thomas, A Biography. Nueva York: Paragon House. p. 283. ISBN 1-55778-215-6.

Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night». BBC Wales. 6.11.2008.

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