Fight Against Death

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Fight Against Death
Jessica Higginson
ENG 125 English
Instructor Ben Mirov
Feb. 10, 2013

Dylan Thomas’s poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night”, is a poignant commentary on death, inspired in part by the impending death of his own father, who faced deteriorating health and frailty during the last few years of his life. After analyzing this poem it gave it more depth and me a better understanding of the poem. I will be covering the structure/form, theme, and symbolism.

The first element I will use to analyze this poem is structure/form. This poem is a nineteen line poem with five tercets and a quatrain. This poem is written using the fixed poetry format of villanelle, in which there are only two rhyme sounds. The refrains are; “do not go gentle into that night” and “rage, rage against the dying of the light.” (Clugston, 2010, Ch. 12) Line one refrains on six, twelve, eighteen, while line three refrains on nine, fifteen, and nineteen. The rhyme scheme of this poem is ABA and is written in iambic pentameter. Thomas’s use of simple repetitive language keeps the iambic pentameter, which is ten syllables per line.

The theme of “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night” is darkness, death, and aging. In every stanza the reader receives an image of death or darkness. An example of the theme is “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, and learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, do not go gentle into that good night” (Clugston, 2010, Ch. 12) which represents the sun setting; in other words it is the dying of the day. Thomas tells readers to live strong lives and fight against death rather than accepting it. The whole poem speaks of fighting and raging against dying. Everyone knows that death will come to them in some way, whether that is today or tomorrow but the author wants us to not welcome it. He wants them to embrace life no matter how hard it gets and whenever death is near, to fight against it. Thomas Dylan uses different types of...
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