Presentation on theme: "Dylan Thomas – Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night."— Presentation transcript:
Dylan Thomas – Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
What is the poem about? When Thomas’s father became old he went blind and very weak. His father became very ill and died in 1952, and the poem is thought to have been a response to those events.
Before we start… This is the sort of poem that is really expressing a mood, and uses devices like rhyme, rhythm, metaphor and language to communicate it. Imagine that the speaker is appealing for his most loved relative not to die…
Stanza One Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light. There are layers of METAPHOR here… Night and day are representing life and death, and Thomas imagines that his father is at the moment of sunset (dying).
Stanza Two Though wise men at their end know dark is right, Because their words had forked no lightning they Do not go gentle into that good night. What does it mean? Perhaps that although everyone knows that death is inevitable, it isn’t easy to die. It might be especially hard to die if you don’t feel you’ve written your verse in life… (Thomas’s father wanted to be a poet.)
Stanza Three Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Again Thomas reflects on the idea that what might have been troubles, or drives men on their deathbeds. Why does he use the image of the sea?
Stanza Four Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night. Thomas returns to the image of a sunset… Who are these wild men he speaks of?
Stanza Five Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Look at the very unusual image here – surely blind eyes can’t blaze can they? Think about the effect that the repeated ‘rage, rage’ is starting to have on the reader.
Stanza Six And you, my father, there on the sad height, Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray. Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light. The poem finally turns personal rather than abstract, and the object of the poem is introduced. Notice that the stanza is bigger for the most important point – his father. Is it confused? What exactly does he want his father to do?
Form The form itself is a villanelle which includes lots of repetitions, and maintains just two rhymes throughout. It enables Thomas to build his poem in gradual stages while keeping the focus on his most important message.
A villanelle is… A nineteen-line poem made up of five tercets (three line stanza) and a final quatrain (four line stanza) in which all nineteen lines carry one of only two rhymes. There are two refrains, alternating between the ends of each tercet and then forming the last two lines of the quatrain. Or 3,3,3,3,3,4 lines. With aba, aba, aba, aba, aba, abaa rhyme scheme.
Is the form the right one? Perhaps the most striking thing about Do Not Go Gentle is the contrast between its form, which is strict, regular and controlled, and its message, which incites the man to "rage against the dying of the light". Surely it isn’t possible to keep very tight control (like the form) but rage and get crazy like he suggests? Is it?
Notice that the use of repetition builds throughout the poem – what effect does this have?
Devices used… Metaphors… ‘That good night’ + ‘close of day’ both = Death Personification… Line two – old age is personified as being able to ‘burn and rave’. Alliteration… ‘Rage, rage’ ‘deeds might have danced’
Questions about the poem For a start Dylan Thomas works through many different types of men… ‘wild men’, ‘grave men’ (notice the pun). Why? What do these groups have in common, or what divides them? Why is the night described as ‘good’? Look at the ending of the last line of each stanza – what do you notice?