“Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas – Analysis and Poem

Synopsis

Dylan Thomas writes about his father going blind and eventual death in this poem about living boldly. Thomas tells the reader to fight death and live life to its fullest before we die.

Analysis

This poem is written as six stanzas with three lines each, except the concluding paragraph which has four lines. Thomas uses a ton of repetition to get his point across. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” and “Do not go gentle into that good night” are both repeated several times. Both of these lines mean the same thing: fight against dying and fight against going blind. This fixed-verse form with repetitive lines is known as a villanelle. The poem is also in the rhyme scheme A-B-A in the first five stanzas and A-B-A-A in the last.

  • The first stanza speaks how we should fight against dying.
  • The second stanza speaks about how wise men know that dying is the right thing, they still do not quit fighting against death because they haven’t made their impact on Earth yet.
  • The third stanza is how good men may have not done great things, only good, but they still fight against death and hardships.
  • The forth stanza mentions how wild men who spent their days partying and didn’t learn anything until it is too late in life, also they fight against death and other illnesses.
  • The fifth stanza speaks of how men near death and are blind can still be happy. They too, fight against death.
  • The final stanza is almost as if the author is begging his father to also fight against blindness and death.

Keywords

  • forked no lightning – didn’t create a big impact
  • crying how bright / Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay – If given a different situation, their actions could have done more.
  • sang the sun in flight – Sang for a long period of time (partied all night long)
  • they grieved it on its way – They felt sad that life was passing them by.
  • could blaze like meteors and be gay – be happy

Poem: “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

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.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia.

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