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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Study Questions

Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Do you agree with the speaker that people should fiercely resist death, clinging passionately to their lives? Or should people die calmly?
  2. How does the repetition of the villanelle's two refrains, "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "Rage, rage against the dying of the light" make you feel as a reader? Does your reaction to these repeated lines change as the poem progresses?
  3. How would the poem sound different if Thomas had written "gently" instead of "gentle" in the refrain?
  4. Another famous poem about death is John Donne's "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning," which begins with the words "As virtuous men pass mildly away." What would the speaker of "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" have thought of the idea that "virtuous men" decide to "pass away" in a mild way? (Extra Bonus Project: compare and contrast Donne's poem with Thomas's!)
  5. Literary critics like to talk about Dylan Thomas's lyricism – the musical quality of his poetry. What aspects of "Do Not Go Gentle" might give a critic the impression of a song or song lyrics? What do you think the relationship is between poetry and music?

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