Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" reflect deeply on both life and death. Frost interprets death as rest and peace from a hard and deserving life, whereas Thomas depicts death as an early end to an unfulfilled life. Contrary to Thomas's four characters who rage against death because of its premature arrival, Frost's speaker accepts death but is inclined to live for promises; therefore both Frost and Thomas choose life over death, but for conflicting reasons.
Robert Frost's deeply-rooted beliefs in nature influence him to view death positively. Through enticing images of solitude and relaxation and peaceful diction, Frost explains why nature and death coincide. Frost makes "mysteries, such as death, resolve into the natural" and suddenly the "mysterious becomes simple" (Nicholl 194). His choice to use "darkest evening of the year" helps to set the mystery surrounding death, but the simplicity of the character and the scenery bring death closer to nature; "suddenly the absolute is brought near, and made almost visible" (Nicholl 194). The individual man encountering woods that are "lovely, dark, and deep" create a contradiction of feelings that intertwine the mystery and simplicity of death. The "dark" and "deep" foreshadow the fears and enigmas of dying. The "lovely" negates the anxiety and demonstrates the excitement and desire to die. Though death seems scary and unknown, it is also wonderful and peaceful to the central character. The traveler appears desiring a rest and death is an enchanting choice. With pleasant images as "easy wind and downy flake," the man becomes a...
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...ngness" (Roberts 378). Frost?s traveler is faced with a choice of life or death and chooses life not to attain grandeur but to keep promises. Thomas?s four kinds of men maintain the right to fight against death for life, but only because life is too short and greatness is yet to be achieved. Frost induces that death should be embraced because it is synonymous with sleep, whereas Thomas concludes that death should be contested due to its hindrance of achievements, but similarly both Frost and Thomas choose the alternative of life to that of death.
Frost, Robert. "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Julia Reidhead. 5th ed. 2 vols. New York: Norton, 1998.
Thomas, Dylan. ?Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.? Sound and Sense. Eighth edition. Ed. Laurence Perrine. Orlando: Harcourt Brace, 1992.
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