The poem, Do not go gentle into that good night by Dylan Thomas is, in my opinion, an excellent poem. While having the ordinary structure of a villanelle, this poem is in many ways a unique poem. It uses the qualities of deliberate repetition, intense language, active anger and hostility, and contrasting elements such as night and day and darkness and light effectively.
A unique feature of this is that each of the principal words in line 1 is paired with their opposites in line 3.
For example, in line one, one of the keywords is ‘gentle,’ opposite to the word ‘rage’ in line 3. Similarly, in line one, the words ‘good’ and ‘dying’ are paired together, along with the words ‘night’ and ‘day.’ The poem lucratively uses deliberate repetition. Sentences such as “Rage, rage against the dying of the night” and “Do not go gentle into that good night” are recurring. I think this was done intentionally to make the point of the poet strong and clear.
He wants to make it lucid that he wants his father to “rage” against dying, implicating that he wants him to be strong and fight death rather than give in to it.
The men that Thomas describes in the poem are “wise men,” “good men,” “wild men,” and “grave men.” He is describing these men tells of men who have dynamically fought in pursuit of something in their lives, and these men are angry because they have not achieved what they yearned to achieve in their lifetime.
By mentioning these men, it is evident that he is trying to aspire his father into becoming one of these angry men, who rage against death, rather than peacefully “go gentle into that good night.”
Thomas also creates a comparison of lightness and darkness to indicate his thoughts. Light refers to the positive aspects whereas darkness refers to the negative aspects. For example, the poet refers to life as ‘bright’ and refers to death as the ‘dying of the light.’ While talking of the “wise, good, wild and grave men,” Thomas uses light to mention the distinguished deeds they had done in their lifetime, which he evidently believed were virtuous deeds.
The intense language used to express vigorous anger helps in asserting the poet’s prodigious support for his father. The language used, such as “Rage, rage, against the dying of the light,” in particular reflects the intensely encouraging support the poet gives to his father. It also makes us feel the intensity of the emotion of love the poet feels towards his father. In my opinion, the intensity of the language also creates considerable hostility towards old age. It looks at old age as a sort of a punishing position to be in, which a person should fight and ‘rage’ against. Never does he say that old age is one of the better parts of life to be in, as you have lived in long, arduous life and can finally relax.
In conclusion, Do not go gentle into that good night is, in my opinion, an excellent poem. What I like about the poem, in particular, is how the rhyming words fit in perfectly to the context of the poem and are not there just for rhyming purposes. While retaining the ordinary structure of a villanelle, this poem is in many ways unique, effectively utilizing the qualities of deliberate repetition, intense language, active anger and hostility, and contrasting elements such as night and day and darkness and light.