Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Examines Dylan Thomas’s lyrical poem, which is written in the form of a villanelle.

Dylan Thomas’s poetry is the epitome of lyrical beauty and charged emotion. “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” exhibits both these characteristics. This essay describes how the poet uses the structure of the villanelle, a little-known and difficult verse form, and other poetic devices to create a poem that, in the opinion of many critics, is bursting with intensity.
“The poem is about life and death and Thomas uses very appropriate imagery for these. Death is denoted by images of darkness. The first image used in line 1 is “good night” signifying that death is a peaceful eternal sleep. Some of the other images are “dying of the light” (line 3), “dark is right” (line 4) and “blinding sight” (line 13). By contrast the images for life are vibrant and simmering. “Lightning” in line 5 creates a powerful picture. Just as lightning dispels darkness and converts night to day, if only for some time, the wise men want to light up or influence the lives of other people for some more time because they have something yet unsaid.”