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And Death Shall Have No Dominion Dylan Thomas Lecture 30.

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1 And Death Shall Have No Dominion Dylan Thomas Lecture 30

2 About the Poet Dylan Marlais Thomas was born on October 27, 1914 in South Wales, and died on November 9, 1953, at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York City at the age of 39. Unlike his contemporaries, T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden, Thomas was not concerned with exhibiting themes of social and intellectual issues. His writing, with its intense lyricism and highly charged emotion, has more in common with the Romantic tradition.

3 About the Poem The poem is written in 3 stanzas with no definite rhyme scheme. The poet uses imagery and symbols in communicating his message. Each of the verse starts and ends with the title of the poem. The title of the poem is derived from the biblical passage in Paul’s epistle to Romans, chapter 6 and verse 9. The poet reveals the reality of death and also gives it a good meaning.

4 Stanza 1 And death shall have no dominion. Dead man naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon; Death has no territory, no control and no influence over the dead ones. All are one in death; race and skin color have no more meaning when skin is no more. Dead are all united with nature and naked as in Eden.

5 When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad they shall be sane, Their mortal flesh and skin dissolves but they become part of a galaxy. The mortal skin is replace with eternal glory. They will be wiser.

6 Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion. Death is a victory; the tales and memories of the dead ones remain.

7 Stanza 2 And death shall have no dominion. Under the windings of the sea They lying long shall not die windily; In the graveyard of the sea the dead don’t lie for long.

8 Twisting on racks when sinews give way, Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break; Faith in their hands shall snap in two, The dead suffered in their lives; the wheel of time has tested and tortured but not broken them.

9 And the unicorn evils run them through; Split all ends up they shan't crack; And death shall have no dominion. They are braver than they were in their life time. Unicorn: in European folklore it is a white horse with a spiraling horn projecting from its forehead – a symbol of purity and grace. Unicorn tears can heal both physical wounds and sorrows of heart.

10 Stanza 3 And death shall have no dominion. No more may gulls cry at their ears Or waves break loud on the seashores; The dead are no longer aware of the natural world around them.

11 Where blew a flower may a flower no more Lift its head to the blows of the rain; Though they be mad and dead as nails, New life may spring for them, like a flower that is brave enough to lift its head in rain.

12 Heads of the characters hammer through daisies; Break in the sun till the sun breaks down, And death shall have no dominion. Daisy: white and yellow in color, the white petals form the outer ring and tiny yellow petals form the eye – like the sun. The daisy blooms as dawn breaks, symbolizing innocence.

13 Analysis The poet celebrates the eternal strength and undying nature of the human spirit. For him, death has no real victory over the life of man. The spirit of the dead still lives on. The dead also live in the memory of their loved ones. The poem pays tribute to the undying and eternal strength of the human spirit. It is because of this strength that death does not claim ultimate victory over humanity.

14 Analysis Thomas describes his technique in a letter: "I make one image—though 'make' is not the right word; I let, perhaps, an image be 'made' emotionally in me and then apply to it what intellectual & critical forces I possess—let it breed another, let that image contradict the first, make, of the third image bred out of the other two together, a fourth contradictory image, and let them all, within my imposed formal limits, conflict."

15 In a letter to Richard Church, included by Fitz Gibbon in Selected Letters, Thomas commented on what he considered some of his own excesses: "Immature violence, rhythmic monotony, frequent muddle- headedness, and a very much over-weighted imagery that leads often to incoherence." Similarly, in a letter to Glyn Jones, he wrote: "My own obscurity is quite an unfashionable one, based, as it is, on a preconceived symbolism derived (I'm afraid all this sounds wooly and pretentious) from the cosmic significance of the human anatomy."

16 Critical Reviews About Thomas's work, Michael Schmidt writes: "There is a kind of authority to the word magic of the early poems; in the famous and popular later poems, the magic is all show. If they have a secret it is the one we all share, partly erotic, partly elegiac. The later poems arise out of personality.“ Like James Joyce before him, Dylan Thomas was obsessed with words—with their sound and rhythm and especially with their possibilities for multiple meanings.

17 This richness of meaning, an often illogical and revolutionary syntax, and catalogues of cosmic and sexual imagery render Thomas's early poetry original and difficult.

18 CLOWN IN THE MOON

19 My tears are like the quiet drift Of petals from some magic rose; And all my grief flows from the rift Of unremembered skies and snows. The tears are flowing gently, roused by sorrowful memories. Unremembered skies & snows: other days & years

20 I think, that if I touched the earth, It would crumble; It is so sad and beautiful, So tremulously like a dream. The reality appears as dream to the speaker.

21 Analysis The title is strange; a clown always wears smile on his face yet this clown is not happy but crying. The clown is a painted mask for happiness that hides a saddened heart of memories of the past. He fears that his present too will soon become a sad, forgotten memory.


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