Study Guide

And Death Shall Have No Dominion Death

By Dylan Thomas

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Of course we're talking about mortality and death in "And death shall have no dominion." But Dylan Thomas approaches the topic in a fresh, new way. Instead of opting for the fatalistic, you-might-as-well-accept-death-because-it's-coming-for-you route, he looks at the human spirit as capable of overcoming death's so-called dominion. In other words, we've got the power.

Questions About Death

  1. How does the speaker manage to convince us that "death shall have no dominion"? Do we think he's proved his point by the end of the poem?
  2. How does the speaker's omniscient voice contribute to this theme of mortality? If we had a more personalized voice, would the poem have sounded any different?
  3. If Thomas had chosen to do without the refrain, would this death theme still be as obvious to us? Why or why not?
  4. Is mortality still a frightening concept by the end of the poem? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Mortality is an inevitable part of being human, but it's not the most important idea in "And death shall have no dominion."

Death is not the end in Thomas's poem but is rather a new beginning for us in our cosmic afterlife.

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