Poem Analysis: 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night'

645 Words3 Pages
English Composition October 29, 2012 The Struggle against Death in “Do not go gentle into that good night” Although death is unavoidable, in “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas, the speaker undertakes a long intense fight against it with a heart full of rage and desperate hope. Overwhelmed by these strong emotions, due to the harsh reality of being powerless facing death, the speaker is deeply disturbed. The fact that his father is soon going to pass away obsesses him. The villanelle is not just chosen at random; it is the most appropriate form he could use to accentuate the message he wants to transmit to his father. The repetitions and repeated sentences, the regular rhythmic pattern as well as the rhyme scheme specific to this structure, strengthen the idea that the speaker wants his father to live every remaining moment intensely without giving up. The constant repetitions throughout the poem, relative to this particular and complex form of poetry, are a simple and effective way for the speaker to implore his father to struggle against death. These repetitions show the speaker’s powerful emotions in the poem. The fact of fighting until the very last moment is also emphasized by the two repeated sentences of the refrain; “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” which sound like prayers addressed to his father. Moreover, these last ones give a certain rhythm to the poem; like the chorus in a song that gets repeated over and over. This regular and rhythmic pattern, given by the several repetitions, gives a beat to the poem. The iambic foot, proper to the villanelle, uses an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one as in “Old age should burn and rave at close of day” (2). This particular type of metrical foot, of the sort da-DUM da-DUM da-DUM..., can be seen as a human heartbeat. It

More about Poem Analysis: 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night'

Open Document