Poem Analysis: Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

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  • Topic: Poetry, Death, Rage Against the Machine
  • Pages : 3 (897 words )
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  • Published : April 23, 2013
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C. S. Lewis once said, “no one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” In Dylan Thomas’s villanelle, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” written within the Emerging Modernist Period, illustrates a man grieving his old and dying father to rage at death for people should look over their lives and have confidence of having accomplished the defining moments by taking risks and having no fear before death is upon them.

Within the first tercet, a young man reacts to the closeness of death with a fighting approach as to rebuke the acceptance of the end. Throughout the poem, the repetition and rhyming of the last words helps to allow the reader to understand the making of a form of writing know as a villanelle. One of the two key phrases within this villanelle, “do not go gentle into that good night,”(1) occurs several times to emphasize the plea against death the speaker has toward men in old age and the personification “of Gloucester’s son Edgar” (Cyr) from William Shakespeare’s play King Lear. The diction of “gentle”(1) is an adjective in place of an adverb making the “less grammatically correct”(Hochman) “gentle”(1) an epithet for his father and involving the relationship shared between the two men through their personal background. The second key phrase, “rage, rage against the dying of the light,”(3) gives insight towards Thomas’s following poem, the “Elegy,” when the detail of the relationship between a young man, Dylan Thomas, and his father. Furthermore, the metaphor of “the dying of the light”(3) conveys the history of one of Thomas’s favorite poets, W. B. Yeats and his military background within the phrase “”Black out””(Cyr) helps to clarify that death draws near. Within these two lines, the author uses words such as “gentle” and “rage,” “dying” and “good,” and “night” and “light” as a contradictory term within the diction. Likewise, the alliteration and the consonance of the “g” in “go gentle… good”(1) and “rage, rage against”(3) help to signify...
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