Themes

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 207

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas is an imaginative exploration of the daily life of a fictional village in Wales named Llareggub. The play is full of details that make up a rich tapestry of characters and village life. The place name itself is a play on words; if you...

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Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas is an imaginative exploration of the daily life of a fictional village in Wales named Llareggub. The play is full of details that make up a rich tapestry of characters and village life. The place name itself is a play on words; if you read it backwards, it is a phrase that in British English means "nothing at all." The play is full of poetry and creativity, as can be expected of Dylan Thomas.

Themes are village life, community, relationships, the passing of time, the sea, religion, and nature. These are all viewed through the behavior and antics of the characters and are sometimes expressed by the narrators. Just as important as these themes is the language itself—rich, evocative, and sometimes surreal, this play is as much about the joy of language and technique as the circumstances of the characters’ lives.

Place is important. The sea is ever present and shapes the villagers’ lives, while the Milk Wood of the title has a different meaning for different characters. Central themes and preoccupations, then, could be the way we react and connect with the place we live and each other, what influences those relationships, and how community is formed and functions.

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Characters