Struggle to Cope with Death in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night Essay

Struggle to Cope with Death in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night Essay

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Struggle to Cope with Death in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Poetry requires more than just a verse.  It must appeal to your mind and generate emotion.  It should be constructed in a way that appears so simple, yet is intricate in every detail.  Dylan Thomas's poem, Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night is a brilliant poem that appears so simple, yet upon looking closer it's complexity can be seen.

 Dylan Thomas was born on October 27, 1914 in Swansea, Wales.  He was educated at Swansea Grammar School.  He was urged by his father to go farther in his education, however Thomas began to write.  He published his first book in 1934.  Thomas and his father had a very close relationship throughout his life.  This is important to know while reading the poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.  His father was very ill for many years, and Thomas had to watch his father's suffering.  Thomas has said, "Poetry comforts and heals".  Hopefully that is what Thomas was doing when he wrote this poem.

 The structure of the poem is a villanelle.  The villanelle comes from the French middle ages and is composed of nineteen lines.  It has five tercets and a concluding quatrain:  ABA-ABA-ABA-ABA-ABA-ABAA.  Two different lines are repeated.  Lines one, six, twelve, and eighteen are all the same.  Line three reappears in line nine fifteen and nineteen.  Each tercet will conclude with an exact or very close duplication of line one or three.  The final quatrain repeats line one and three.  The villanelle is one of the most difficult forms of poetry to follow.  Perhaps Thomas wanted to use this form to show how special his father meant to him.  Dylan Thomas speaks of death throughout this poem.  Death is the major theme of the vil...

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...ther should be traveling into the light, and not into the darkness.  Thomas should not be scared of death, yet he questions it in most of his poetry.  He is angry at death and believes that the only place with light is in this world.  He may be saying that light is life.  Life is happiness.  Is death then age and unhappiness?   The last quatrain of this Villanelle describes his father on top of the list of men facing death.  Thomas curses himself for wanting his father to fight even though he sees his suffering, yet he is not ready to let go of his father.  He begs his father to fight death.

 This whole poem is Thomas's struggle to cope with his father's death.  He writes the poem while his father is still alive and never shows it to him.  This poem may have helped him to deal with his father's death, and it may have taught Thomas a little about death itself.

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