Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night

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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” is a villanelle style poem written by Dylan Thomas, and is the poem he is best known for. It was left untitled by the poet therefore the first line of the poem became the title. The speaker in the poem begins by telling the reader to “not go gentle into that good night” line 1 using night as a metaphor for death. The theme of death is repeated at the end of line 2 with “close of day” and in line 3 with “dying of the light.” By the end of the first stanza it is obvious this poem is speaking of death and stating that old men should not accept it peacefully but to should “burn” and “rave” against it with great intensity.

In the second stanza of the poem the speaker tells us that “wise men at their end know dark is right,” line 4 the speaker is telling us that death is inevitable. To every beginning there is an end and we will all face death at some point, a wise man knows and accepts this fate. This stanza also tells us that as we are nearing the end of our lives we tend to reflect back to the impact we made on the world. Since “there words had forked no lightening” line 5 the speaker suggest that they had made little impact on the world in which they had lived and could not simply give into death without a fight.

In the third stanza the speaker proposes that “good men” fight the inevitable with all their might. Thomas uses the image of a wave “last wave by, crying how bright” line 7 about to crash into the shore or, die. As men approach the shore of life they cry out how much more fulfilling life could have been if they had been allowed to live longer. Their lives would be so much richer if they were allowed to dance in the “green bay.” The green bay representing life because it is full of living things such as algae and seaweed. However their future actions “frail deeds” will not be able to come to fruition because they must die.

Stanza four speaks of “wild men” those...
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