What are four ways in which the poet refers to death without naming it?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Here are four ways that Dylan Thomas refers to death without naming it as such:

  • "that good night"    [line 1]
  • "close of day"         [line 2]
  • "dying of the light"  [line 3]
  • "dark"                    [line 4]

Considered "a poet's poet," Dylan Thomas imbues language with a glowing magic that propels the reader onward through lines that seem to leap and cry out fiercely. In this poem death assumes an intensely personal meaning for Thomas as he addresses his dying father, urging him to fight against the blindness of waning life, and "rage, rage against the dying of the light," refusing to surrender to death until it finally overtakes him. 

Clearly, the reader of this poem senses that death takes on an intensely personal meaning for Dylan Thomas in this villanelle [see link below] that lends a simplicity of rhyme to an profoundly emotional poem of a romantic wildness.

Thomas's diction in this poem is what one critic calls directed from an "overclothed blindness" to a "naked vision." Unlike such contemporaries as W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender, Thomas's poetry is free of political themes and overtones; his are intensely personal, drawn from his love of language and depth of feeling.

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