The Gentle Fight?

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The first stanza opens with the speaker pleading to his dying father not to give up. He requests him to keep fighting, to keep burning and raving even when the day ends, to burn brightly even when the light starts to flicker and all hope seems to end.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

The poet says that the wise men know that death is a part of the inevitable circle of life but they should keep fighting for their words had not yet made a mark on this world, for they were yet to prove so much more. Thus the speaker says that no matter what people should keep fighting, to make a difference, to make their presence felt.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The poet talks of the ‘good men’. The good men are those who may have done a lot of good for the mankind but they feel that their deeds might have been in vain and if they had got a little more time their deeds might have been successful like dancing in a green bay. Thus during the last moments of their life like the last wave, they should also rage against all odds.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

There are some men who have spent their lives wildly by enjoying, celebrating and cherishing the beauty of life. They sang and learnt later that they have wasted their time and could have accomplished so much more. The sun in-flight’ means the moving sun that continuously goes from the east to the west. The wild men busy in cherishing the sunrise fail to realise that they are nearing the end of their life.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Grave men possibly refer to ailing people who are nearing to death and they lose their eyesight yet they remain strong in their mind. They realise that even though they are blind they could be passionate and blaze like meteors and be happy. Thus they also try to rage and fight against death.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The poet now addresses his father directly who is sad and is nearing his death. He asks his father to cry passionately which would be a form of catharsis and thus it would lighten his father’s sadness and that will be both as a curse and blessing for him. He requests him not to go gentle into the good night and thus he should fight and keep fighting against the flickering and feeble light of the life given to us.


3 thoughts on “The Gentle Fight?”

  1. I enjoyed your interpretation of this Dylan Thomas classic, but I do wish that you had started it with an introductory paragraph or statement of some sort to tell us what your goal or aim was in writing this article. Obviously, it was to provide an interpretation of the poem, but was there more to your writing of the article? What’s your mindset? Where are you, metaphorically speaking, coming from? What’s your connection to this poem? How has it affected you or influenced your writing? That, to me, would be as interesting as the analysis and would help provide me with some insight into the poem and probably help me form my own interpretation. You may have this already on your website, but to me, the first time reader, it’s not at hand when I read the article, so I start without any background information. Thanks for writing this, by the way. It’s always good for me to re-read this poem on occasion and review my life accordingly as I progress in years.

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