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What is the mood in the poem "Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas?I...

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ambermdavis | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 24, 2012 at 1:36 AM via web

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What is the mood in the poem "Do Not Go Gently Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas?

I have to write an essay comparing the two poems "Do Not Go Gently into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas and "When You Are Old" by William Butler Yeats. I am comparing the mood, imagery and speaker or tone.

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misslacey | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted January 24, 2012 at 4:12 AM (Answer #1)

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Both are great poems and this sounds like an excellent assignment.

I would say that the tone in "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Goodnight" is a mixture of somber desperation. The speaker accepts that his father is at the very end of his life and is about to die, yet he is trying to awaken what little life he has left to persuade him to fight death, rather than allowing himself to be taken.

Each stanza starts off with an example of a different type of person who has fought death: "Good men," "Wise men," "Grave men," "And you, my father..."

The speaker is listing as many convincing examples as he can think of. He closes each stanza with the same line, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light." The repetition of the word "rage" her is used for emphasis. Saying it once is not enough. You can hear his desperation as the word and this line are both repeated.

A quick note on "When You Are Old":

This poem's tone is much softer and more romantic. He is writing, specifically to his real-life love, Maud Gonne, about the way he wishes to imagine her as an old woman. She is warm and comfortable, "nodding by the fire," and he wants her to accept the end of her life remembering that she was loved:

"But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face."

I've included some links at the bottom of this post that might help you further.

Good luck!

 

 

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