The Use of Symbolism in Dylan Thomas's Poem, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

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“How do the poets create distinct poetic voices in ‘If…, Do Not Go Gentle…’, ‘Remember’ or ‘My Last Duchess’ & three other poems.”

Poetry is an art form that gives the writer freedom to create a distinct voice through a combination of both visual imagery and poetic structure. All six poems analysed in this essay are about a pivotal event in one’s life, including growing up, making a major decision, loss of a lover or death and the emotions that develop. These poems were written at different times and use different structures, yet all provide the reader with a clear message unique to the poet. Which can form an emotional connection with the poem. Through poetic devices such as repetition, contrast, phrasing and imagery, the poet reinforces his message in a way that remains relevant even today. ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling is an inspirational poem by a father preparing his son for manhood. It is written in the in the second person. The first line immediately takes you into the poem as Kipling advises his son “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you”. The father provides his son with a series of examples where he will need to be his own person, including times when he encounters both “triumph and disaster”. Throughout this he advises his son to force his “heart and nerve and sinew” to serve him when there is “nothing in you except the will which says to them ‘hold on’”. By following his own course, and not being carried away by extremes, he will be a man and “yours is the earth and everything that’s in it”. Kipling uses both repetition of the word “if” as well as contrasts to stress his point. He also uses a fixed rhyme scheme, which is the steady path that he wishes his son to take. ‘To the virgins…’ by Robert Herrick is also a poem addressed to a young person, offering advice. However, whereas Kipling’s father tells his son to take a steady and even path, Herrick’s poem is addressed to a group of young women or...
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