1Dylan Marlais Thomas is considered one of the greatest modern poets.Like many other writers and poets, Thomas lived a life of loss, poverty,and adventure. His life began October 27, 1914 in Swansea, Wales. Hisfather David John Thomas was an English Literature teacher at the SwanseaGrammar School and at Dylan’s birth he was determined for his son to becomethe poet that he had failed to be(Fitzgibbon 25).
Despite having verylittle education, Thomas began writing poems at the very young age ofnine. At age sixteen Thomas left school and began working at the SouthWales Daily Post, sometimes writing scornful reviews of local plays,concerts, and writers; which were often edited to keep from offending thesubjects he scrutinized.In 1937, after going on many drinking bingesand living together for over a year, Thomas married Caitlin MacNamara,with whom he later had three children. In April of 1937, Thomas began toread poetry for BBC Wales.
Radio broadcasting became a big role in hiscareer development. Thomas is credited for many publications, includinghis most famous, ” Do Not Go Gentle into That Goodnight” and “Under Milk Wood”. Tragically, during his fourth visit to the UnitedStates, Dylan Thomas fell into a coma, due to an overdose of Tequila andMorphine shots.
On November 9, 1953, he died at St.Vincent’s Hospitalwhile a nurse was bathing him; he was thirty-nine(Neurotic Poets 6).Thomas has been described as, ” humble, shy, confused, and insecure onthe inside, but outwardly neglectful, selfish, and egotistical-yetalways, and extremely, charming”( Neurotic Poets ).
2Though Thomas led an interesting life; even more interesting is his styleof writing.Even though Thomas’ works are puzzles to most people, Thomasbelieved ” what the words stood for, symbolised, or meant was of verysecondary importance-what mattered was the very sound of them”( NeuroticPoets 1). Thomas believed that the best poetry was music to the ears.Thomas used life experiences and Biblical passages to create the musicalsounds in his poetry.One of Thomas’ most famous poems is ” Do Not Go Gentle into That GoodNight”.Thomas had a very close relationship with his father David JohnThomas. On December 16, 1952, his ailing father died while holding hishand( Neurotic Poets 5). This poem is very much about the struggle betweenThomas’ father and death.
The poem reads:Do not go gentle into that goodnight, Old age should burn and rave at close of day;Rage, rage against the dying of thelight.Though wise men at their end knowdark is right,Because their words had forked nolightening theyDo not go gentle into that goodnight.Good men, the last wave by, cryinghow brightTheir frail deeds might have dancedin a green bay,Rage, rage against the dying of thelight.Wild men who caught and sang the sunin flight,And learn, too late, they grieved iton its way,Do not go gentle into that goodnight.Grave men, near death, who see withblinding sight,Blind eyes blaze like meteors and begay,Rage, rage against the dying of thelight. 3And you, my father, there on that sadheight,Curse, bless, me now with your fiercetears, I pray.Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of thelight.(Grimes)Thomas’ father had been a militant man most of his life, and when becameblind and weak from illness,his son was disturbed seeing his fatherbecome “soft” or” gentle.” In the poem, Thomas is moving his father to goback to being the fierce man he had previously been ( Grimes 1). The ” sadheight” is a time when life is ending and death can be seen as inevitable.Thomas rages his father to rage against the old and dying life; at the sametime the “sad height” is the only moment the only moment that he can askhis father to bless him(Westphal1). Thomas also used an abundance ofbiblical language in his poetry.
We can also look at ” Do Not GoGentle into That Good Night” forThomas’ use of biblical language. Thomas often tuned to the Bible forimagery and illusion in his poetry. For instance, “the sad height” is muchlike Mount Nebo where Moses died because he could not enter the promisedland. The origin of lines 16 and 17 is clearly the book of Deuteronomy.For example the relationship between Moses and his