Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night 
By: Dylan Thomas

As his father lay dying, Thomas writes a poem to suggests that the most appropriate way to leave this Earth is with bold ferocity. Gently awaiting death to triumph is the coward’s way out, according to this poem you should ‘rage’ against the end and try to savor the last bits of your life. The poem instructs those dying to burn with life, to let it consume them near the end. To end life with a spark is the most satisfying way to live because fighting back proves you are alive which won’t be the case for much longer.

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas

The passionate intensity the author presents is shown through the use of command. “Do not go gentle” and “rage against the dying of the light” is a call to action for those approaching the end of their lives. The end doesn’t inherently mean a poor quality of life, in fact, the author stresses that you create your destiny. If you live with ferocity right to the bitter end, you will satisfied with your life and your accomplishments. The contrast in word choice contributes to the poems meaning by playing off the idea that even though near the end, fragility and malaise plague the soul, it’s still imperative to live out loud. The aba aba pattern with a rhyming couplet at the end help to convey the take charge attitude the author feels when thinking about his father’s demise. The five beats, ten syllables per line creates the ‘battle cry’ effect. It’s a high energy, upbeat poem that is meant to inspire. Charging into war is a must for a satisfying life. It will inspire others to remember that death is only significant if life was not. Throughout the piece, “close of day” was used as a euphemism for death. This contributes to the author’s purpose of showing that death is just like nightfall. You need to make the day (life) exciting, fulfilling and meaningful because at night you only have loneliness, isolation and regret. The “close of day” makes the reader feel lonely and a longing to live life with more purpose. At the end being brave and fighting fiercely are true attributes to one’s character.

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.

Dylan Thomas 

The first stanza focuses on old age in general and as the poem procedes gets increasingly personal. In the final stanza, Thomas directly addresses his father, making a wish that as death approaches he has no regrets. He lived his life to the fullest each and every day right up until the bitter end. The poem doesn’t mention any type of sadness, loss or mourning that usually enters into poems about death. The author was purely worried about the individual dying and making sure they felt fulfilled with their lives before it was too late instead of worrying about how it effect others after they passed. Throwing one’s whole spirit into soaking up the final moments and sensations of being alive is according to Thomas, the most rewarding task as time inevitably runs out.

To read the entire poem click this link:  

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