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Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Dylan Thomas

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Added by: Lauri
For one thing, why is INTO in capital letters? As for my comments, I think this poem is very deftly put together. It seems almost a prayer because the speaker seems to be trying to communicate with the other side. And he is addressing his father, who is about to go there. I think he loves his father.
Added by: Geraldine
This poem is Thomas' rage and grief about his father's death. The various types of men are qualities that he sees in his father and himself. The poet anticipates his own feelings at dying. Death is all about the futility of life, no one gets it right.
Added by: Martin Rocek
The brilliance of this poem can be appreciated only if you have ever had the misfortune of reading another villanelle. This rigid form lends itself to stiff stilted verses that just don't work. Dylan Thomas avoids this trap in at least two DISTINCT ways: Substantively, the subject matter, death, or perhaps a prayer for the dying, lends itself to the repetitive ritualistic form. Technically, the two repeated lines are verb clauses that can also function as imperatives. This allows Thomas the flexibility to write verse that the syntactic variety to flow naturally. I have never read another decent villanelle in the English language; if anyone can direct me to one, I would appreciate it.
Added by: dave
Such an emotional piece. It involves the saying Carpe Diem. By insisting on living the poem supports the idea to live to climax right till the last heartbeat. The last stanza is written by a son to his father. The son says to his father to live on and give him some fair remark. The son is afraid for both his father and for himself when he is in the same situation.
Added by: bob smith
“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” is a battle cry against death. The speaker of the poem thinks that one should fight against dying until the last breath of life is gone and that to give up life is the coward's way.
Added by: Andrew
This poem is a very existential poem. Not only is it about fighting death, but it also lists the way that people screw up and do not live life to the fullest. He specifically lists 4 categories of men and why they have not truly lived.

Wise men: "words forked no lighting" e.g. they didn't accomplish anything

Good Men: "frail deeds" - They did noble things, but they weren't noticed by everyone else

Wild men: "learned too late" - partied for thier entire life and wasted what they were given

Grave Men: "see with blinding sight" - they were unable to see the good things in life, and thus, did not enjoy it.

Then Thomas goes into talking about his father and says "curse, bless me now", implying that death is not only a curse, but also a blessing. It is a curse because life is over, and I think that Thomas believes that there is no afterlife, yet it is a blessing due to the existentialist view that life essentially means nothing and that the nobility is in the struggle, not in life itself.
Added by: Piaras Hoban
The irony this poem conjures up when looking at how thomas died is really interesting. I wonder how much of this was thomas saying through pure emotion and not of a deeply held view of mankind. If it was the former then it must be ranked as an extremely emotional poem.
Makes a good reply to "Shine, Perishing Republic"
Added by: kudzu_topiary
I recommend reading Robinson Jeffers' fatalistic "Shine, Perishing Republic", then reading Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" as a vigorous reply to it.
Added by: Under Milkwood
Listen to the poem read by the author

A good villanelle
Added by: phoenixgirl
I love this poem, but to answer another person's question, I also appreciate Elizabeth Bishop's variation on the form, "One Art."

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