Death is an inevitable thing that everyone endures sooner or later, yet the way you decide to die is based on you. The villanelle, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas is a euphemism for fighting against your death although it is impossible to avoid. Thomas showcases this by using multiple literary devices such as imagery, diction, and tone.
Thomas uses figurative language to add depth to his writing for his audience to see.
For example, “Old age should burn and rave at close of dathe y”(L2) is hyperbole, because old age does not burn nor rave. However, the usage of figurative language here builds on how the poem is about fighting for your life. Thomas uses this type of language multiple times throughout the poem in each Finanza such as: “Because their words had forked no lightning” (L6), “Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay” (L9), “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight” (L11), and “Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay” (L15).
He uses this figurative language to describe the four types of men he mentions; wise, good, wild, and grave. Also, he uses euphemisms to make his poems less harsh. In the text, Thomas says “Do not go gentle into that good night”(L1) instead of saying do not die without a fight. Another example would be “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” because the saying “dying of the light” is another simpler way of saying dying or death.
This figurative language also provides imagery for the audience to imagine, feel, or think about. The audience can imagine each of these men and how they would proceed to act on their deathbed.
Thomas’s usage of iambic pentameter also plays a large role in expressing his euphemism. The rhythm of weak strong creates a voice that the reader can vouch off of. Also, the iambic pentameter contributes to the rhyme scheme which is “aba aba aba abaa” which aba helps create the rhythm of the poem to detect the importance of the repetition. The repetition included in this poem also indicates the importance of those lines. The lines that are repeated are “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light”, one being the title as well. The importance of these lines is expressed through the stanza individually and in the final stanza twice. It is repeated in the last stanza one after the other because it is about his father going into the light. This change in tone becomes a lot more serious as he begins to speak about his father because instead of addressing a certain group of people (ex. wise men) Thomas directly asks his father to fight for his own life.
The comparison between the different types of men and the addition of his father shows how Thomas believes that his father is essentially all of the types, wise, good, wild, and grave. Thomas does not want his father to die without fighting for his life or realizing his life was good and what he did throughout his life was good. His usage of repetition of the two lines shows how he wants them to be emphasized and paid attention to. His tone is prideful and confident as he talks about the other types of men but then tones it down into a more serious note when he mentions his father. Thomas’s usage of diction and his imagery add to the depth of his plea to his father.