"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 183

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Context: This poem is addressed to Dylan Thomas' father and, indeed, to all old men who must soon face death. Contrary to the usual statement that we should accept death with resignation, Thomas maintains that we should "rage against the dying of the light." Wise men will not accept death with tranquillity, because they know how little their wisdom has accomplished; good men will not, because they know how much they might have done had they had more time. And so it is for "wild men" and for "grave men." Thus, the poet's advice to his father, now on "the sad height," is that he, too, should not accept the inevitability of death with the traditional calmness. The poem begins and ends:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
. . .
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.