Compare and contrast the four categories of men present in "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night."

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First, the speaker describes the wise men who "at their end know dark is right." They are wise and so they recognize that death is normal and natural, but "Because their words had forked no lightning they" refuse to die without a fight. This metaphor indicates that perhaps they feel that they have not had enough of an impact on the world the way lightning has an impact.

Next, the speaker describes the good men, who cry "how bright / Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay." This metaphor seems to suggest that these men feel they could have done more good in their youth (signified by the green bay); they feel their deeds were frail in comparison to what they could have been.

Third, the speaker describes the wild men "who caught and sang the sun in flight / And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way." These men are wild because they really tried to live each moment of their lives without regret—signified by the metaphor of the sun in flight—but they, too, fear that they did not make the most of their time.

Finally, the speaker describes the grave men ("grave" is a pun due to its two meanings of serious and of place of burial), who come to "see with blinding sight [that] / Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay." They realize that they could have allowed themselves to be happier, even in their old age, rather than being so serious all the time.

All four types of people experience regret, wishing they had made more or better use of their lifetimes. The wise men and the good men feel that they could have accomplished more: they could have had a bigger impact, have done more good. The wild men and the grave men feel they have missed out on something: more joy or happiness was available to them than they allowed themselves to feel. All four types of people, of course, refuse to "go gentle into that good night" and "rage against the dying of the light." The speaker uses this argument—that everyone fights death—in order to convince his own father to do so as well.

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In "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," Dylan Thomas reflects on wise men, good men, wild men, and grave men.

The wise men know that death is inevitable. However, their intellectual knowledge does not make it easier to accept the inevitable. They feel like they have not finished their work on Earth, as "their words had forked no lightning."

The good men who do good deeds feel they could do more good in the world. They lament over what they "might have" done more as they wave goodbye to their loved ones. This is similar to the wise men who wish to do more in the world.

The wild men enjoy life and live to the fullest extent. Unlike the wise men, they do not anticipate that death is coming, and struggle to accept it.

The grave men are serious and also close to their graves. They have more foresight than the other men. They see how life has faded, and so just like the other men they fight against death.

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Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" is a masterful example of the villanelle, a poetic form structured around sequences of repeating lines. In the poem, Thomas references and discusses four types of men: good men, wise men, wild men, and grave men.

The major comparison that can be made between the different types of men is that each of them experiences a major realization upon their respective death beds. The nature of these realizations, however, is different. Wise men, for instance, realize that their "words had forked no lightning" (5), and so it's suggested that wise men's wisdom is not as important in the end as it was perceived to be. In contrast, good men lament "Their frail deeds," (8) and so it seems as though they have failed to live life to the fullest. In the following stanza, wild men mourn the passing of their strength, as they "caught and sang the sun in flight/ And learned, too late, they grieved it on its way" (10). Finally, grave men enjoy the most optimistic epiphany, as they learn "Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay" (14). This quote suggests that a perceived disability, such as blind eyes, is not, in the end, as debilitating as it might have been considered during life.

All in all, each type of man experiences a major insight or realization within the poem. The nature of these realizations differs, although most of them (except for the last one) seem to involve a sudden understanding about a missed or lost opportunity.  

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