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Dylan Thomas

            Dylan Thomas's poem, Do not go gentle into that good night focuses on the sadness an individual experiences with the passing of a loved one. The poem also contrasts the acceptance of death with blind anger and frustration at the nature of things we are powerless to change. Further more, the poem speaks much about the loss of love and the feelings of one left behind; the meaning of the poem stays covered in metaphors like the references to night as "good". These emotions are seen frequently throughout the poem, even though the style indicates structure and discipline within the theme of "night" and "light". Within the passage Thomas gives examples of men who meet death differently yet alike. The first are "wise men," they know "dark is right" because they know what to look for at the end of life. In spite of their wisdom, however, they "do not go gentle" because their words "had forked no lightning." This phrase has the force of a symbol suggesting that wise men had lacked the true power of nature. Thomas therefore seems to be saying that the wise men were not wise enough, that their words created no ultimate reality but vague speculation of death as a positive thing. Subsequently, the good men Thomas later talks of permitted life to pass them by. The clear imagery of "bright /Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay," evokes a wonder world of joyful activities in contrast with the "frail deeds." Why, we wonder, do the good men regret the past just as the last wave goes by? As for the style it is most definitely an elevated style of poetic diction within a villanelle format. The term originated in Italy (Italian villanella from villano: "peasant"); and later used in France to designate a short poem of popular character favored by poets in the late 16th century. Five tercets are followed by a quatrain, with the first and last line of the stanza repeated alternately as the last line of the subsequent stanzas and gathered into a couplet at the end of the quatrain.

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