However, it was not published until after his father’s death on December 16, 1952. Four of the six stanzas in the poem address different types of men who are close to death. The first of the four types of men are the “wise men”. These men might be considered intellectuals or scholars. Thomas says, “because their words had forked no lightning they / Do not go gentle into that good night ” which means that because they have not completed everything in life they wish to, that they will not submit to death without a fight (5-6).
In the second of the four stanzas Thomas addresses “good men” who, like the wise men, have not lived their life to the fullest and still have things to accomplish. Thomas says, “crying how bright / Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay / Rage, rage against the dying of the light” (7-9). This line means that the good men, now at the end of life, should finally behave passionately and finally be noticed. Thomas believes that the good men’s actions have failed to stand out.
He thinks that they should do something to be seen by the world instead of dying without being known. The third of the four stanzas is written in regards to “wild men”. These men are different from the men he spoke of in the previous stanzas. The wild men have lived their life to the fullest unlike their counterparts. “Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, / And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way” means that these men have lived without any reserve in their lifestyle, but what they do not realize is they will soon age and die (10-11).
They do not blink an eye at death because they have done everything that they wanted to do with their lives. The final men that Thomas talks about in the poem are the “grave men”. Thomas addresses the grave men saying, “Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight / Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay” (13-14). This line means that the grave men, although they are blind, see that death is near better than men with sight. Thomas is saying that they should be happy even though they know what is going to happen to them.
In the last stanza Thomas is talking directly to his dying father. Thomas’ advice for his father is to “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” (17-19). As with the previous stanzas, Thomas wants his father not to go easily into death but to fight it until his last breath. Dylan Thomas is a well known and frequently read poet. Thomas himself said, “All that matters about poetry is the enjoyment of it, however tragic it might be.
All that matters is the eternal movement behind it, the vast undercurrent of human grief, folly, pretension, exaltation, or ignorance, however unlofty the intention of the poem” (qtd. in Sinclair 233). Because the topics of death and the cycle of life run throughout his works many critics consider him a twentieth-century writer. Whether it was simply his tone, his subject matter, or a bit of both, Thomas’ poetry brought out a marked response in readers. As discussed, the themes of life and death are especially prevalent in the three poems; “And Death Shall Have No Dominion,” “Fern Hill,” and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. “