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Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night

by Dylan Thomas

Mortality Theme

"Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" laments the necessity and inevitability of death, encouraging the aged to rebel against their fate. The poem suggests that (to use an old cliché) we should leave this world the way we came in – kicking and screaming, holding on to life for all we're worth.

Questions About Mortality

  1. What metaphors does the poem use to characterize death? What are the implications of these metaphors – how do they change your pre-conceived ideas about how death works and what it means?
  2. Is death an inevitability in this poem? Is there any way to effectively resist death?
  3. In the speaker's opinion, is it useful to struggle against certain death? Why or why not? What do you think?
  4. Are there any clues in the poem that the speaker might be concerned about the possibility of his own death?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" depicts death as inevitable, the speaker suggests that people can redeem themselves by bravely fighting against the odds, resisting death to the last.

The speaker's decision to use sunset as a metaphor for death implies that there is a redemption or reawakening after death, since every sunset must be followed eventually by a sunrise.

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