Dylan Thomas Poems
An Evitable End: Dylan Thomas’s “Do Not Go Gentle . . .”
Death is often a sensitive subject; after all, most individuals relate death to the loss of someone who was especially important or beloved. In Dylan Thomas’s “Do not go gentle into that good night,” a strong message is delivered to those who are near death. Thomas demands them to continue to fight their ailments and not accept that death is upon them. Using symbolism as well as strong language, the message to fight death is conveyed to all different types of dying men, including Thomas’s father, throughout the poem.
Thomas does not waste any time trying to deliver his message and begins the poem by evoking powerful emotions and creating a sense of urgency. Words such as “burn,” “rave,” and “rage” in the first stanza induce feelings of anger and desperation that set the tone of the poem from the very beginning. Thomas does not want his audience to take his message lightly. In the second and third lines, death is referred to as the “close of day” and the “dying of the light”. These phrases are synonymous with the sunset set and relate life to a single day. While a lifetime may be long, a single day is much too short of a length of time. Thomas feels as if life is too short and believes all people should fight for as long as we can to lengthen it.
For the rest of the poem, Thomas uses each stanza to relate to a different group of men and attempts to show a reason why each should fight to postpone their inevitable end. In the second stanza, wise men are addressed. Though they know that death cannot be avoided, they still don’t simply accept it. He states that “because their words have forked no lightning” they resist death. Thomas believes that these wise men are capable of great things, but because life is so short, they make an insignificant impact if any at all. In the third stanza, good men are focused on. Thomas states “Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright / Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,” where he compares life to the sea, good men to waves and good deeds to the dancing waves. Death in this case is when the waves reach the shore and can no longer dance in the ocean. Good men, just like the wise men, had their lives cut too short to accomplish anything worthwhile.
In the fourth stanza, wild men, or rather those who celebrated the world and its beauty, are addressed. Thomas states “And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,” in which he explains how the men miss the day as the sun begins to set, again relating death to a short day. These wild men who were once celebrating the world soon begin to realize that they are dreading the end. In the fifth stanza, grave men are confronted. Thomas states “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,” where he addresses sick men. Despite the grave men being blind or ill, Thomas still expects them to fight death with whatever strength they have left because he believes there are still reasons to live on. More powerful words such as “blinding,” “blaze,” and “rage” are used to arouse more potent feelings of desperation.
In the last stanza, Thomas addresses his own father, revealing the motive behind the poem. The “sad height” he mentions refers to his father being on the verge of death. Thomas states “Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray,” showing his despair and concern for his father. He begs his father to fight, though seeing him fight this battle and in so much pain is both a blessing and a curse. Though, the author states how he would much rather see his father fight instead of giving into death. At the end of the last stanza, Thomas repeats both lines that had been the last lines of each stanza, stating “Do not go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light,” which, again, shows how desperate he was to have his message reach his father.
Though some people may give into death without a fight because death is inevitable, Thomas emphasizes the importance of extending your life as much as you can throughout the poem. The use of literary devices emphasized the importance of his message being conveyed, so that the audience may take in Thomas’s message and be inspired to live on. Though life may be short and death unavoidable, fighting death can make life longer in any case.
Death Across Modern Literature: Dylan Thomas, Wilfred Owen, and Hardy’s “The Mayor of Casterbridge”
Death has been a prominent theme across literature, with its countless interpretations showcasing the diverse ways it has influenced different authors. Thomas Hardy’s novel The Mayor of Casterbridge is described by Hardy as “The life and death of a man of character”, and commences as events begin to lead Henchard to his death. Dylan Thomas, however, was able to base his depiction of death on how it was affecting his own life at the time of his writing. He wrote his poetry across a large expanse of time, from a young man unaffected by personal death, to an adult who had lost his father and experienced war. Wilfred Owen on the other hand was surrounded by loss as he wrote his poetry, in which he recounted the horrors of death that he and his comrades experienced. He is revered as one of the highest acclaimed poets of the Great War, the same war that took his life.
Thomas began to write when he was a teenager and his poems were quickly inspired by death, most notable within “And death shall have no dominion”, his first published poem. Thomas used the theme of death to inspire the conception that no matter what kind of life you lead, death would never truly have control of you. This is demonstrated within the line “when their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone” followed by “they shall have stars at elbows and foot”; as it implies that although death has claimed your earthly body, part of you will always remain. This spectral afterlife bares closer resemblance to scientific theory, rather than the Christian beliefs that were a majority in Thomas’ time. The image of becoming stars mirrors the scientific theory that all matter, including the matter of our own bodies, was produced in stars. This could be interpreted as Thomas writing about an afterlife in which we return to the stars once again to continue the cycle.
Death appears many times within Hardy’s novel, most pointedly at the demises of Susan, Lucetta, and Henchard. Through Susan’s death, Hardy explores the idea that the dead have no dignity. Mother Cuxsom, while talking about Susan’s last wishes said, “and things a’ didn’t wish seen, anybody will see”, meaning that all the secrets Susan had tried to keep would be revealed and any dignity she had would be shattered. This is effective in changing the atmosphere in the novel, giving it an air of anticipation regarding the contents of a letter that Susan had written in her last day of life, with the instructions “not to be opened until Elizabeth Jane’s wedding”. This begins the build-up of Henchard’s slow fall from power, as not only has he lost Susan but, as the letter would reveal, his own daughter had died years ago and he was not Elizabeth-Jane’s father.
The idea that all of Susan’s secrets would be revealed illuminates a new meaning in Thomas’ line, “when their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone”, as picking someone clean is another way of saying ‘taking everything they have’. Once she was dead, all Susan had left were her secrets, yet the reader knew that they would inevitably be taken from her as well.
Not all of Thomas’ poetry shares the optimistic view demonstrated in his earlier work. His later famous portrayal of death, “Do not go gently into that good night”, takes on a more pessimistic and violent approach, as it was written for his father who was approaching blindness and death. The poet implores his father to “rage” and not accept his fate without a fight. Thomas writes “curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray”, as his father had been of a strong independent mind, yet had been weakened and tamed by his illness. The afterlife promised within this poem is simpler than the one previously portrayed, described only as “that good night”. Yet within that one line, the poet pours forth his fear of death as an unknown force that is attempting to take his father away from him. By comparing death to the night, Thomas creates many images, one being a description of the helplessness he feels, as night is an inevitable part of the day, just as death is an inevitable part of life. Another interpretation is that Thomas is embracing a childlike fear, as the fear of night and darkness is a phobia shared by children across the world. Both interpretations create an atmosphere of foreboding about the poem as, unlike ‘And death shall have no dominion’, the reader is offered no silver lining to death.
Sleep is a common comparison used to refer to death in poetry, yet within Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘Asleep’, the poet implies that death is easier than life. The line, “He sleeps less tremulous, less cold, Than we who wake, and waking say Alas!” refers to the act of dying as less painful than the grief of those who were left behind. Unlike Thomas, who focuses on death as a concept, and Hardy, who accuses the living for many of his written demises, Owen uses his poem to blame death itself. Both the lines “Sleep took him by the brow” and “Death took him by the heart” use death and sleep as names rather than states of being, personifying them as the causes of his poems suffering. Another interpretation of these lines can be found by looking at them through the lens of war. While Owen was writing, everyone was looking for a scape goat on which to blame the damage caused by the war and, due to the magnitude of events that started WW1, everyone was able to blame different people. Owen, instead of looking to a leader or a country to blame, offers the reader the choice of blaming death itself.
The illnesses suffered by his family members significantly altered how Dylan Thomas viewed death. His first poem had been calm and controlled in its choice of wording. For example, lines like “Shall be one”,” “Windings of the sea” and “Where blew a flower”, use soft and tranquil language, attempting to create a placid view of death within his reader. However, in his later poem, Thomas writes with more ferocity, producing lines like “forked no lightning” and “who sees with blinding sight”. Although both poems use natural imagery, the latter creates a far more forceful effect, which could show how Thomas wanted to inspire his father into fighting death and is an example of how, like Owen, Thomas describes the painful effect death has on those who are left behind.
Susan’s death also allows Hardy to explore the way death affects the living, through the effect she had on the townsfolk. It was once traditional to place coins on the eyes of the recently departed in order for them to pay the ferryman who took them into the afterlife. Susan asked for her coins to be buried after their use and for them to be left alone, “don’t ye go spending ’em, for I shouldn’t like it”, however despite her request it is revealed that “Christopher Coney, went and dug em’ up, and spent ’em”, with the excuse that, “why should death deprive life of fourpence?”. This question acts to undermine death’s effect on life, as once Susan was gone there was nothing she could do to affect their decisions and the living characters, though some thought it wrong, “’twas a cannibal deed”, agreed that there was no way it could affect her now, “she’s helpless to hinder that or anything now”. Hardy’s portrayal of life verses death views death and the afterlife as less significant than life and the living. He focus’ almost solely on the townsfolk and their views directly after her passing as, where Susan’s close family would be mourning more deeply, these characters focused on how they had been personally involved her last moments.
Lucetta’s death was drastically different to Susan’s just as Thomas later poem was different to his first. Where Susan died calmly, “After this her mother was silent, and dozed”, Lucetta’s illness is described as, “being in great mental agony”. Hardy seems to use their deaths to reflect how the women lived; Susan is often described as, “simple” and, “meek”, by Henchard and as “not what they’d call screwed or sharp”, by Newson. These mannerisms were reflected in her death, as very little is explained about her illness. The reader is only told that she became weaker and weaker until she quietly passed.
Lucetta, on the other hand, was killed almost directly by her past. For Hardy’s contemporary reader, sex out of wedlock was considered deeply shameful and, although the extent of their relationship is not made clear by Hardy, it is implied that Lucetta and Henchard have had a sexual relationship in the past. When reading the love letters written by Lucetta the townsfolk’s reactions are not of anger or disgust, but of pride. They suggest a skimmity-ride, creating effigies of the involved parties and parading them around town on a donkey, as if it were a form of social justice. This suggests Hardy is linking their reactions to the social structure of the time. Many of the townsfolk do not like Lucetta as she puts on airs and acts above them, “she’s never been one to thank me”, giving their actions an air of petty spitefulness, which adds to the tragedy felt when Lucetta both miscarries and dies from their resentment.
Hardy used death to illuminate the slow downfall of Henchard, as his world appears to be crumbling around him. Hardy’s own description of the novel is ‘The Life and Death of a Man of Character’, setting the events of the plot out to be a slow build up to an inevitable death. The loss of Susan leads to Henchard, by way of her letter, discovering that Elizabeth Jane was not his daughter. The passing of Lucetta acted to fortify his depression. While contemplating his losses, Hardy writes “Susan, Farfrae, Lucetta, Elizabeth – all had gone from him”, which acts as a reminder that these figures had almost entirely made up his life in the eyes of the reader, as the years without them were skipped by Hardy. This writing technique illuminates the loss of self that Henchard is going through and creates a vivid sense of dread for the reader as it foreshadows his upcoming death. Another interpretation of this time skip is that it was used to humanize Henchard. Before this point he comes across as detached, a man able to sell his wife and child to a stranger and risk Lucetta’s reputation by abandoning her as well, yet his dependence on those he loved begins to deteriorate his unlikable characteristics, leaving only pity from the reader, as he has nothing left.
The Mayor of Casterbridge was said to be about “a man of character” and, throughout the chapter of Henchard’s life that Hardy writes about, we see Henchard take on many different characteristics that can be illuminated in comparison to the deaths of the various men in ‘Do not go gentle into that good night’. Dylan Thomas’s poem focuses on “wise”, “good”, “wild”, and “grave” men, as well as finally on Thomas’s own father. Henchard is wise and good mostly in his years during the novels time lapse. He was able to raise himself up from the shame of selling his wife and having almost nothing in life, to a respected mayor. When he sees Susan again he tells her “I don’t drink now – I haven’t since that night” as if desperately trying to prove that he has become a better man. The wise men of Thomas’ poem fear for their actions in life, as though they were wise, they, “forked no lightning”. Like Henchard, these men long for life so that they may prove their worth, a contrast that creates a vivid sense of fear, as although the wise men knew their time was coming, Henchard is yet unware of his impending death.
However, as the book progresses and problems occur he becomes increasingly wild. His argument and fight with Farfrae reveals an almost bloodthirsty side to his character, with the line “this is the end of what you began this morning. Your life is in my hands”. Within the poem, Thomas writes that wild men “learn, too late, that they grieved it on its way”, this could be interpreted as the men learning, too close to death, of their many mistakes and the consequences of them. Henchard, after the fight, “became possessed by an overpowering wish to see Farfrae again”, to gain pardon for his madness, however, as events continue he is unable to restore his former friendship or write any of his wrongs. The critic Laurence Mazzeno wrote that, “his failure to understand and his lack of moderation in his desires incite him to brutal aggression followed by pain and regret”; this sheds new light on the wild men who “caught and sung the sun in flight”, as the power and majesty the sun represents shows the lack of moderation in the lives of the men.
Nearing his death, Henchard mostly suits the description of the grave men, as he begins to think desperately of all he could have done, however his death itself it is most closely related to Thomas’s description of his father. Thomas begs his father to “curse, bless, me now”, as he fears he will go gently into death. When told of Henchard’s final moment, it is revealed that he was quiet and, after wondering for hours in misery, he “got weaker; and today he died”. This calm, almost pathetic, death comes as a shock for the reader after the vibrancy of his life. Just as Dylan Thomas could not believe it of his father, both the reader, and his fellow characters, find it hard to believe that Henchard would “go gentle into that good night” and succumb to his death without a fight.
After the tragedy of World War II, including the events of the Holocaust and the use of the H-bomb, Dylan Thomas feared both war and for the future of mankind. Within the war itself he was classified as a grade III, meaning he would be among the last to be conscripted, due to his lungs and history of illness. Thomas drank excessively during war time, as his friends all left to fight and he was struggling to support his family. The poem that best illuminates Thomas’ views on war is ‘A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by fire, of a Child in London’, written in 1945 during WWII. Thomas uses a rhythmical writing techniques, filling his poem with alliteration such as, “mankind making”, “last light,” and “sow my salt seed,” as well as rhyming every third line. This rhythm allows readers to immerse themselves within the imagery of the poem despite its violent nature. The line, “the dark veins of her mother” holds many connotations, for example, her mother could be taken to mean her birth mother, who has lost her daughter to war. This would make sense with Thomas’ fear of what would become of mankind and his refusal to mourn her would refer more to a refusal to disgrace her death with further war propaganda, implied by the line, “nor blaspheme down the stations of the breath with any further elegy of innocence”. It could also refer to the line “London’s daughter”, where her mother is the city itself. Here her vines are either the rivers that run through the city, or the fire that ran through the streets after the bombing.
Many theorists have argued over whether Thomas’ poetry was religious; W. S. Merwin said that he found Thomas to be a religious writer because “that which he celebrates is creation, and more particularly the human condition”, yet Thomas portrayal of death and afterlife does not appear to fit into any conventional religion. R. B. Kershner wrote that “his God has been identified with Nature, Sex, Love, Process, the Life Force, and with Thomas himself”. This comes into effect in ‘A Refusal to Mourn’ as Thomas juxtaposes natural imagery with religious symbolism within the poem, for example, “the synagogue of the ear of corn”, and “the last valley of sackcloth to mourn”.
The poem ‘Dulce et Decorum est’, by Wilfred Owen, also refuses to indulge in the patriotic view of war spread about by propaganda. Owen details the gruesome death of a soldier, using language such as, “he plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning”, as well as descriptions of his surroundings, “cursed through sludge” and, “under a green sea”, to immerse the reader in the reality of war. During WWI, when this poem was published, it would have held immense power, as the majority of men had gone off to fight, making this their reality. Owen condemns this cruelty, comparing the innocence of the boys who wanted to join to nativity, with the line, “to children ardent for some desperate glory, the old lie; Dulce et Decorum est pro patria mori”, which translates to, “it is sweet and glorious to die for one’s country”, an idea spread around by propaganda to convince young men to sign up.
Throughout their works, all three authors refer to death not only as natural, but as one of the most powerful forms of nature. Thomas focuses his work on how each of us becomes one with the world once we are dead; his writing often refers to his own fears and views on the afterlife. Hardy however, while writing prose as opposed to poetry, focuses on the personal nature of death. He includes the opinions of characters both close to the deceased, as well as characters who did not know them well, as this allows him to illuminate the consequences of life brought about by death. Owen on the other hand, as a war poet, writes mostly about the violence of war, using his own experience to create blunt contrast between life and death.
The Unattainable Force in Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night
Dylan Thomas expertly investigates notions of reality and higher power as he reflects on life and death in his poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. Seemingly a rejection of religion and God altogether, the poem never directly states a presence of a higher power. It does address the constancy of life in death in society and the approach humanity has to each. Thomas’ poem suggests a new notion of religion that describes a force that is both unattainable and unstoppable to humanity as evident in the end rhymes, diction, symbols, and images of the poem.Thomas employs the traditional structure of a villanelle in order to reveal that life and the forces that drive it are not as simple one may believe. The villanelle stays true the classic formula in rhyme the rhyme scheme ABA ABA ABA ABA ABA ABAA. Additionally, the repetition of the first two A lines are utilized as the structure typically calls for. This tight formula first suggests that life, like the poem is clearly understood and defined by the ideologies that humanity holds. However, upon a close look one realizes that the end rhymes suggest a completely different notion about tradition. The A end rhymes include words like “night,” “light,” “right,” “sight,” and more. Each of these end rhymes highlights the theme of the poem itself. Day and night, light and dark, growth and knowledge are proposed and contradicted throughout. By rhyming these words together at the end of each line the poem finds a pattern not unlike the pattern of life and death. Traditional religious values indicate that death is not the end of life, but only the next step to heaven or a life beyond earthly matter. The end rhymes in this poem do not extend beyond the close of night, or death. Instead, each time that darkness comes, the light ends, and a new light emerges elsewhere. This pattern suggests that life is continuous, but one single life follows the predictable pattern of rising, growing, and then ending definitely. Nature or whatever unknown force drives this cycle of life does not extend beyond the grave. This traditional notion is cast aside and a new notion is embraced. Death is still inevitable to life, which indicates that life is not something controlled by humans, but by a greater force. This force dictates the cycle of life and defines it in the pattern described.A simple poetic form and rhyme scheme is revealed as a complex message of the truth in religious revelation. End rhymes appear to be simple and whimsical, but in the reality of the poem nothing is what it seems to be. There is a force that incites the opening and closing of “light” and “night” that the structure humanity attempts to place on life cannot control. Instead, the structure truly allows the inevitability of the force to be recognized. Each end rhyme is like the last, another revolution of a day, another life that comes and goes. Traditional religious values contradict and hide the reality of what is, as the poems traditional structure masks the indication of a new force driving humanity. This new force, new religion, only appears at the end of every line, as the force seems to be apparent at the very end, when it is too late, of every life.The poem’s thematic diction also reveals fruitful contradictions that indicate new religion and ideas in the face of traditionalism. On hand simple, direct, and definitive words are used quite often. Words, such as “night,” “day,” “curse,” “bless,” “right,” and “sight” are exactly what they seem. Each of these words, whether now or action, is concretely defined. The words demonstrate the clarity in which one may lead his or her own life according to the Christian ideals and religious proponents the world favors. Traditionally, a clear line defines the good and the bad, the living and the dead. However, this simplification of the poems dictions leaves much unexamined. Clear indicative words are interrupted and infused with words of passion, movement, and intensity. Words carrying this enthusiastic diction include “lightening,” “blaze,” “fierce,” “blinding,” and “rage.” The opposing dictions are interwoven throughout the poem. The dance of these words suggests that the tradition and definitions of life as humanity understands it may be motivated and controlled by a driving force hidden to the man of traditional faith. This force is inescapable, which is why every actor in the poem is driven to impassioned action. The force, fills life itself and defines death, but cannot be understood or attained as long as the simplicity of current religious values remains intact. One must realize that life and death is not the black and white that some diction may suggest, but rather the whirlwind of unknown that driving superior forces control.This notion become evident in the phrase that indicates a dying man sees “with blinding sight.” The word “sight” is clear and definitive. This describes the ability of one to visually interpret his or her world. The diction is clear. This would hold true if it were not paired with the contradicting word “blinding.” The diction of this word is far more interpretive and mobile. The diction implies action and force. If one has sight, then the capability of physically seeing is possible. Here, the sight is blinding, indicating that some aspect of impassioned life or death disables the literal sight in order to reveal a truth that simplicity cannot describe. One near the grave comes to realize that all he once viewed as truth and fact, the traditional moirés of Christianity, is a falsified reality. The force that he cannot control and has not seen before, due to his traditional view, comes into focus at the moment in which he dies. The man never has control of his situation, his life, or his death. The superior force, the new religion, enabled and disabled his sight and recognition. Even in a revelation of new religion, he cannot share the knowledge with humanity, as the life he lived is spent and nothing follows. The clear and concise words that fill this poem and regulate humanity are driven by traditional religions that hold no value to the truth of the higher power responsible for life and death. The revelation of new religion and forces appear again in the diction of the phrase in which “good men” are found “crying how bright.” The diction of the words “good” and “bright” indicate simple and definitive notions. The complexity of statement is introduced when the passionate and emotive word “crying” interrupts the clear-cut nature being presented. The diction of this word contrasts the diction of the “good” and “bright.” A traditional view of God and religion can be clearly defined and indicated in the words of “good” and “bright.” Religion, as a positive and well-understood aspect of humanity bodes promising futures for those who employ the traditions they are presented with. This clarity fails to address the emotive and constantly changing nature of life itself. In breaking the rhythm of diction with the passionate word “crying,” one is lead to believe that easily defined and understood moirés do not explain all. Life is driven, interrupted, and ended in passion and movement. As the actor is brought to an emotive state, the religion of tradition is challenged by a new thought. Traditional gods cannot explain away the force of nature. Suffering pains, passionate encounters, and more are left unaddressed and overlooked. These forces, the ones that drive the thoughts and actions of every life, are the direct result of the new religion proposed. This religion, like the diction, is constantly moving, ending, and driving life. A force more complex than can be described simply, like traditional religions, is the source of the few truths of passion that humanity does recognize.Another aspect of the poem that reveals a new way of religion or view of the higher power manifests itself through symbolism. The poet explores usage of traditional ideological symbols to bring about the notions of God and religion. These ideological symbols of God and heaven include “light,” “day,” “dark,” and “night.” These are commonly used to symbolize death and life or awareness and ignorance. “Light” is often used as a representation of heaven or the afterlife. In imploring these ideological symbols the poem allows one to interpret the message as one of faith. However, the traditional view of life is shattered through these symbols. The idea of heaven of life after death is obliterated in the usage of the symbols of darkness and night as ignorance or death. They convey finality in the ideological symbol they serve and indicate that the traditional views of heaven provoked by religion are falsified ones. A different force, one that traditionalist are ignorant of, controls the pattern of life and death that is described here.Furthermore, the exploration of personal symbols suggests that there is more to religion than tradition can explain. Personal conscious symbols like “words,” “deeds,” and “eyes” are representative of the reality that humans are familiar with and can explain. They represent the items and aspects of life that humanity holds as fact of knowledge. These are the venues in which humanity controls itself. People have the freedom to act and experience the world as individuals in charge of their own destiny. The symbols of “words…deeds…eyes” act as the representation of one’s ownership over their own life. The ideas that this symbolism provides is destroyed by the personal unconscious symbolism in the poem. Aspects of life, the modes in which people control life, are driven by things like “lightening” and “meteors.” These words symbolize the uncontrollable, unattainable, and inevitable aspects of humanity. One may use his or her words to articulate thoughts, but these words can never be used to control the impact of a lightning strike. Likewise, a meteor blasts through the atmosphere indifferent to the eyes that view it. Life and death are driven by the forces that people have no control over. Therefore, faith as a concrete explanation of reality is false. The new religion suggests that the force that defines and controls life and death is one that cannot be fully understood or articulating by humanity. It is truly a higher power and traditional values fail to interpret it.In addition to the symbolism provided, the impact of imagery can be noted as yet another testament to the fostering of new and radical religious notion. The poem takes advantage of visual and autonomic imagery throughout the text in an attempt to bring new ideas to light. The visual imagery reveals things like, “light…dark…bright…sight…blind” and more. These images allow one to reflect on life and death, birth, renewal, sin, and ends. The images are something that one views. A person has the opportunity to view what lies before them. He or she cannot create or destroy anything, but a greater power dictates when they see and when they are masked in darkness. Traditional views of religion provoke the blindness described. One fails to use his or her sight when false religions are practiced. The sight is taken away in death and given in life, but deceiving ideas of religion is refusal to use the light given. The new force cannot be seen, but sight and the lack of it, are testaments to power of the unknown force. The exploration of autonomic imagery reveals that the guts feelings and desires of humanity know more than the mind can explain. The entire poem centers around autonomic aspects like “burn…rave…rage…crying…grieved…gentle…fierce.” These notions are rooted from the way a person feels about a situation or reality that he or she may face. They are the actions and descriptions that only a gut can interpret. Each autonomic image works to fight against the traditional notion that death should be easy and comforting, as it is not true end of all. This idea is false, and though traditional religion may limit one’s ability to cognitively realize this, the autonomic feelings recognize the truth of the new religion. When death approaches, the finality of life manifests itself. The new religion suggests no afterlife, therefore life should be lived fully and death should be feared. In recognition of this truth, the gut is moved to action, passion, and an internal fight against death. However, despite the gut’s reaction and correctness, the force unknown the mind of the man takes hold, regardless of the autonomic warnings. Even in the imagery that realizes a new religion, no force is strong enough to withhold the one that drives nature and the autonomic reactions of life. The symbolism, images, diction, and end rhyme scheme of Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night clearly indicate that while traditional religion is false, a new religion in unrealized force of nature exists in the world. This force is unknown to mind of humanity and so superior that humans can never fully understand it, but merely participate as pawns to the force’s immense powers. In light of this awareness also comes the notion that life is driven quickly by force and comes to a definite end. Each individual is given one life to spend before the force rips it away, only to create a new life the next day. One should strive to live fully, fear death, and disband from the distracting popular notions of religion and God.