Study Guide

And Death Shall Have No Dominion What's Up With the Title?

By Dylan Thomas

What's Up With the Title?

When your title matches your refrain, you know it's got to be important. We know that "And death shall have no dominion" comes straight from the New Testament and that it's all about spiritually rising up after death. For more, check out Shmoop's learning guide on St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans.

From the get-go, the poem opens us up to a more cosmic, spiritual world that can never be trampled by death. Even if the imagery and language gets a little dark at times—considering all the tortuous stuff in the second stanza—we know by the end that "death shall have no dominion." And that sounds pretty reassuring.

To further prove that famous expression, the speaker takes us through virtually every earthly circumstance we may encounter in life. We've got some medieval torture "racks," some dead folks under the sea, and even some faithful lovers. And through it all we are reminded that, "death shall have no dominion."

Yep, there's no forgetting this title. Maybe even by the end you might cut the speaker to the chase by preemptively declaring, "death shall have no dominion!" And you have to admit, it sounds pretty cool too even with all the Romantic poetry and biblical influences. The alliteration in "death" and "dominion" adds to its catchiness and makes it even harder to shake. Now that's a title worth talking about.

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