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Reading Analysis of Do not Go Gentle into that Good Night by Dylan Thomas

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The poet’s purpose of this poem interprets men of all ages, intellect, profession, or virtue, are never aware or prepared for death which will ultimately fall upon them. He wants everyone to fight death by living life to the fullest and not just to give up and die. This poem was written to his father who was on his deathbed and he wished for him not to die. The poet is angry as there is nothing he can do to save his father from death, which is imminent.

The first line of the poem “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night,” (line 1) symbolizes that no man should let death overtake them without a fight. The poet’s purpose of this line is to set a foundation for the reader to get a better understanding of how this poem will play out and to feel his rage as he desperately tries to convince his dying father to fight.

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The interpretation of the title would be relevant to my personal life because my father was an American soldier fighting in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was wise, intelligent, and experienced in his ability as an Army Sergeant Major. His primary mission was to reach Baghdad and eliminate the threat. My father fought his way through small towns and many battles, and ultimately, gave the greatest sacrifice anyone could give. On April 11, 2004, my father was killed when his convoy was ambushed multiple times outside of Baghdad, Iraq. He did not go gentle into that good night as he fought long and hard during these ambushes to live until death came at the hands of his enemy.

There are a lot of emotions in the poem allowing the reader to grasp and feel the entire story. “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (lines 3,9,15,19), is a great example of the mood in the poem because the word ‘rage’ indicates anger, desperation, and frustration. The poet is thinking and feeling rage as he could not change the outcome and finality of death which is surely coming to his father. While “against the dying of the light” portrays sorrow and love as he attempts to plead with his father to continue battling and not allow death to overtake him.

“Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,” (line 14), uses personification and imagery to allow the reader to visualize men fighting death. The line explains the few who are blind are unable to see, but they are still going to fight death. “Blaze like meteors” is a representation of men fighting death by going out with a bang. As we know, meteors typically crash to the earth with the sound of a bang. Lines like this one allow the poet to create a visual for the reader to get a better understanding of what the poet is trying to express.

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” (line 3,9,15,19), as well as, “Do not go gentle into that good night,” (line 1.6,12,18), are examples of repetition in the poem and express to the reader that the son is desperately and urgently trying to convince his dying father to fight death so death does not overtake him.

Weather-wise, good, wild, or grave, death comes to one and all, and no one is prepared or willing to wait on death. They can only live their lives to the fullest and be as prepared for death as one can be, but, even then, they resist. The love for his father causes great pain for the poet, with desperation and urging of his father to fight death. But his father knows he ultimately will leave this world, regardless if he fights or not.

This poem was very powerful and heart-wrenching; showing love, life, and death through sadness, tears, cursing, praying, and rage. The poem was very moving as it reminded me of the very same feelings as I felt when I learned of my own father’s death. 


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