Study Guide

And Death Shall Have No Dominion Death

By Dylan Thomas

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The Grim Reaper has seen better days. Suffice it to say that the big finale for all of us doesn't seem all that big in Thomas's poem. Sure our bones may get picked clean, but we know the physical world isn't our last stop. So death may be unavoidable (and all over the poem), but it's also not the end.

  • Lines 1-3: The "dead men naked" don't seem to have it so bad. In fact, they get to have "stars at elbow and foot," which makes us think that Thomas's cosmic afterlife isn't too shabby.
  • Lines 6-8: We've got a regular catalogue of all the crazy life circumstances that may occur (in parallel syntactical structures nonetheless). And after it all, we know everyone is "rising again." 
  • Lines 13-14: Medieval torture racks aren't stopping anyone. Sure our earthly lives may get a bit tortuous, but not even death can "break" us. 
  • Lines 24-25: We've got some idioms and euphemisms in these lines that make death seem less final and scary—familiar, even. Our "characters" will push through those figurative daisies and "rise up."

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