Where are some examples of consonance, allusion, hyperbole, onomatopoeia, and personification, in "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas?

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droxonian eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Consonance, as the name implies, is an effect where consonant sounds are repeated. While alliteration—the repetition of the same consonant at the start of a word—is a type of consonance, consonance also includes the repetition of internal consonant sounds. It should not be confused with assonance, which is the repetition of vowel sounds. In this poem, we can see consonance in the repetition of s in the line "Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears," and also on t in the repeated line, "Do not go gentle into that good night." There are also multiple incidences of alliteration ("rage, rage," "sang the sun in flight," "blind eyes could blaze").

Allusion is when a writer uses an expression which recalls another work, a piece of Classical myth, or similar. There isn't an overt allusion in this poem, but the reference to "my father there on that sad height" is sometimes interpreted as a description of God looking into "the valley of the shadow of death," an allusion to Psalm 23.

Hyperbole is a Greek term meaning exaggeration or overemphasis. We can see hyperbole throughout this poem in the speaker's insistence that we should "burn and rave at close of day" and "rage against the dying of the light." The speaker encourages a seemingly immoderate reaction to what is really a natural process.

Onomatopoeia is a term referring to words whose sound-shapes seem to echo the actual sounds they are describing, like "splash" or "tick-tock." In this poem, we can see an example of this in the word "blaze," which seems to echo the sound of a meteor erupting with bright heat.

Personification is found in this poem in the reference to "frail deeds" which "might have danced in a green bay." We also see synecdoche in the suggestion that "old age should burn and rave at close of day," the "old age" here representing the whole person, or group of people, in old age. Likewise, synecdoche is found in the phrase "blind eyes could blaze."

dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

An example of consonance from the poem comes from lines 17 and states,

      “Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray ”

The consonance exists here in the words “curse” and “bless” and then in the words “fierce” and “tears”.


The example of allusion, although there is more than one can be found in stanza 4, lines 10-12.  Here, the speaker says,

     “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
      And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
      Do not go gentle into that good night.”

The speaker is alluding to “wild men” – possibly men in battle.


An example of hyperbole, or extreme exaggeration used for emphasis, can be found in lines 3, 9, 15, and 19 in the repetitious line,

     “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”


Onomatopoeia can be found in line 14, with the use of the word “blaze” in the following:

     “Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay”


Finally, two examples of personification can be found in lines 2 and 5.  In line 2 the speaker personifies old age when he says,

     “Old age should burn and rave at close of day”

Additionally, he uses personification when he gives human qualities to words in line 5:

     ”Because their words had forked no lightning they”.

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