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Dylan Thomas

3 Pages 688 Words

Dylan Thomas’ father had been a robust, militant man most of his life, and when in his eighties, he became blind and weak, his son was disturbed seeing his father become “soft” or “gentle.” In the poem Thomas is rousing his father to continue being the fierce man he had previously been.
Literary devices:
The form on the poem is a villanelle, with a rhyme scheme alternating “night” and “day.” “Good night” is a metaphor and a pun. “Dying of the light” is a metaphor. “Old age should burn and rave” in line two is a combination of metonymy and personification. “Close of day” is a metaphor. “Burn” in that same line is used metaphorically, as is “dark” in line four. In line five “their words had forked no lightning” is metaphorical. Line eight “Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay” employs personification and metaphor. Line ten “Wild men who sang the sun in flight” is exaggeration and metaphor. Line 11 “they grieved it on its way” is also exaggeration and metaphor. Line 13 “Grave” is a pun; “blinding sight” is an oxymoron. Line 14 “Blind eyes could blaze like meteors” is a simile. Line 17 “Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray” is a paradox.
A villanelle is a French poetic form that originally served as a vehicle for pastoral, simple, and light verse. That Thomas would employ that form for the subject of death enhances the irony of beseeching a dying person to rage. No doubt the poet also chose this form because of the repetition of the important lines, “Do not go gentle into that good night” and “Rage, rage against the dying of the light” and because of the tight formal structure of the form. The subject matter which is the command to the father not to accept death so easily lends itself to the dichotomy of “day” and “night” which become somewhat symbolic for “life” and “death...

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