Dylan Thomas wrote "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" in 1951 in response to emotions he was feeling about his dying father. Thomas uses villanelle, tone, alliteration, and conceit to craft a masterful work, that gradually progresses encompassing the emotion and rage he is feeling, while maintaining control through diction and form.
Thomas's father was an outgoing military man most of his life. Seeing his father fading into non-existence without the passion and vigor Thomas associated with him troubled him. Thomas wrote the poem as a plea to his father to hold on or at least exuberate some of the life Thomas once saw in him. Thomas never showed his father the poem, but it is clear the poem is stemmed from the memory of his passing.
Thomas utilized the villanelle form flawlessly. The rhyme scheme of "night" and "day" throughout the piece symbolically represents death and life. The work is even more confined as Thomas maintains a similar beat and number of syllables per line during the entire poem. The simple structure and repetition of key lines progresses the emotional tone of the poem. The enjambment, "Do not go gentle into that good night" Rage, rage against the dying of the light", repeated throughout gives the poem its control and supports the thoughts within.
Alliteration is used in the refrain "Do not go gently into that good night" the strong "G" sound gives it more imperativeness and moreover reinforces the power of the refrain.
Thomas's poem utilizes conceit superior to any work I've ever examined. Thomas's complex metaphors in each stanza have an individual as well as common theme. "Though wise men at their end know dark is right" (4), "Because their words had forked no lightning they" (5) is a metaphor for the meaninglessness of the things the "wise men" had said when death is at their door. Lightning could symbolize a flash of life in death, as a common metaphor throughout the poem is... [continues]
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