Posted by: stephlwilson | February 27, 2011

Do not go gentle into that good night

I have found another poem by Dylan Thomas that I am considering using for my film. I have done some background research into the understanding of the poem. Here is what I found,

‘Each of the six stanzas has uniformity and a specific purpose:

Stanza 1: The first line is a command, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Paraphrased, “Don’t give up easily.” The second line offers the speaker’s belief that even when old and infirm, the man should stay energetic and complain if necessary as long as he does not give in to death easily. Then line three again is a command, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”: Fight, complain, rail against the oncoming of death.

Stanzas 2, 3, 4, and 5 each try to persuade the father to “rage against the dying of the light” by offering evidence of what wise, good, wild, and grave men have done. For example and to paraphrase stanza 2: Even though wise men know that they cannot keep death away forever and especially if they have not accomplished their goals in life, they don’t accept death easily; they “Do not go gentle . . . .” Similarly, in stanza 3, good men exclaim what might have been, their “frail deed” might have shone like the sun reflecting off the waters of a “green bay,” and they, therefore, “Rage, rage” against the oncoming of death. Likewise, in stanza 4, wild men whose antics seemed to shine as brightly as the sun and who thought they were so optimistic, but later realized they spent much of their life in grief, still they “Do not go gentle . . . .” And in stanza 5, grave men whose eyes are fading fast can still flash life’s happiness, as they “Rage, rage . . . . ”

Stanza 6: The speaker addresses his father. Paraphrased, “And so my father you are nearing death—yell at me, scream at me, cry out; to see you do that would be a blessing for me and I beg you to show me that militant man you once were: “Do not go gentle . . . . ”
After reading all the relevant information he poem has a strong theme of death to it, addressing a father. I don’t think I will use this poem now with such a strong negative theme behind it. I think I will stick with ‘Fern Hill’, this  does have the theme of death in it but mixed with the passing of time and reflecting on a childhood, something I’m more interested in recreating in my own way.

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