Interpretation of "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" – A poem written by Dylan Thomas

"Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" is a thought-provoking poem written by the famous Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas. It was published in 1951 in a journal captioned "Botteghe Oscure". It also appeared in some other publications. The ailing nature of his father inspired Thomas to write the poem. He actually wrote it for the dying man.

Poem Structure
The poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night is written in Villanelle format which is actually a French poetic writing method that requires 19 lines. The format has 5 three-line stanzas and 1 four line stanza towards the end. It equally has a unique rhyming scheme. The poem has 6 different stanzas altogether. The poet made use of different poetic devices and repetition in conveying his message.

Poem Interpretation
The speaker in the poem describes the good aspects of growing old. Actually, the poet addressed the poem to his dying father who was stricken in age. His father was once an influential Army official. As the years roll by, he became very old and weak as he retired from the army. Thomas observed the ailing condition of his father and decided to write the poem to encourage the old man. He focused on convincing his dad to fight imminent death courageously. This is exactly the reason for the poem’s title "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night". The "Good night’ here refers to the later part of human life especially old age when everything seems to fade away. The poet advises his father not to succumb to imminent death despite his ailing condition. He tries to address his father and also portray the same message with words like ‘wise men’, wild men’, grave men’ and ‘good men’. He maintains that such men should fight death to the end despite the situations they face in life. This actually means that one should not die anyhow without first fighting for his or her dear life.

The poem also shows the speaker actually admits the inevitability of death. Yet, he still encourages people to fight to the very end. By so doing, they can encourage their family members and friends who will be left behind when the real death finally occurs.

Moreover, the poem portrays the diverse reactions of individuals during their final hours on earth. It also showcases how human beings react to the reality of death. Oftentimes, people fear death to the point of missing out from enjoying the remaining days of their existence on earth.
In all, the overall message of the poem is that, elderly persons should not be discouraged or feel hopeless as a result of their old age. They should not fear death. Rather, they should fight death courageously till they finally give up the ghost.