Dylan Thomas Literary Works Analysis
"And Death Shall Have No Dominion" is a poem in three nine-line stanzas. Each of the stanzas begins and ends with the title line, which echoes Romans 6:9 from the King James translation of the Christian New Testament: "Death hath no more dominion."(Dylan Thomas, 30) When Saint Paul said in his letter to the Romans that "death hath no more dominion," he meant that those who had chosen salvation would not suffer eternal damnation and spiritual death. Instead, they would be resurrected on the Day of Judgment and given new spiritual bodies. The title and the refrain give the theme of the poem which is resurrection and also introduce its characteristics, rhythm, and solemn tone. Thomas makes it clear from the beginning that he sees things from a different perspective. Thomas states that "death shall have no dominion," he carefully and deliberately leaves out the word "more." For Thomas, it is not a matter of death ceasing to have power. It is that death has never been the end of life. The poem is built on repetition, and not merely of the title. Robyn V. Young states that "The central argument is less complicated, and the repeated defiance of death at the beginning and end of each stanza gives it the character of a spell."(Poetry Criticisms) Once the meaning of the first line is understood, the entire poem is understood. Each of the inserted lines and images is simply another way of saying that the life is immortal and that people's bodies may die but their spirits live on in the world. Thomas creates images that reflect God's connection with the earth and body. Thomas portrays the redemption of the soul in death, and the soul's liberation into harmony with nature and God. Thomas best depicts his beliefs, though abstract and complicated, to the reader with the use of analogies and images of God's presence in nature. In the bible, Paul says of Jesus in passing that "death hath no more dominion of him." Thomas makes use of the...
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