A Life in Vain in "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night"

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Living a life of reason is the goal of many people; a life of principle seems to make the acceptance of death easier. As American novelist Robert Byrne said, "The purpose of life is a life of purpose." When death arrives, people tend to examine the point of their life. Accordingly, many may feel scared as death approaches because they realize their life has been in vain. However, if a person manages to live a life of purpose, he or she can find solace in the fact that he or she may be immortalized because of their actions. Although people find comfort in this, Dylan Thomas does not. In Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," he writes of four classes of men: good men, wild men, grave men, and wise men. Two classes, grave and wild men, achieve their dreams in life only to find that those achievements mean nothing. Good men and wise men, on the other hand, do not even get the chance to achieve what they wish. Thomas, addressing all classes of men, attempts to show that their lives have been in vain, in hopes of giving the men reason to continue their fight against death. Yet if these men have yet to find their purpose or have found their purpose only to find it is in vain, then what has the meaning of their life been? Death is inevitable; so when Thomas shows these men that their lives, to this point, have meant nothing, then what have they accomplished? How can they ever break away from the fruitlessness of life and finality of death if they have no more time in which to realize their purpose? Thomas, in "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," expresses that those on the verge of death should stand in opposition to death because their lives are not complete; Thomas is inadvertently illustrating that fighting de...

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...d fleeting words to attempt to bring meaning to earthly achievements. By using these statements though, Thomas demeans his argument that death has no power over life. Perhaps Thomas is looking for the purpose of life in the wrong place. Is it possible that death holds the meaning of life,? In "A Casebook on Dylan Thomas," Winfield Townley Scott introduces the argument that "Death is the greatest dramatist: it gives final meaning to any life and objectifies it so all who will may see" (Brinnin 274). Thomas in, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" believes that death is "a time for regrets and laments and elegies" (Brinnin 274). This is obvious, for Thomas is scared of going gentle towards death. However, perhaps Thomas does believe, in some aspect, that one can find peace in death, for Thomas himself is the one who refers to death as -"That Good Night."
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