Lifes End Life is like Coca-Cola. It is greatly anticipated when brought forth, greatly enjoyed during its existence, and greatly missed when its gone. As in Do Not Go Gently In that Good Night by Dylan Thomas, many people get to the end of their lives and only then do they realize what they have missed. They realize that there is something that they just did not do in life and they try to do that thing before lifes end. The poem is based around five people. There is a wise man, a good man, a wild man, a grave man, and a father. For some reason, others more obvious than the ones before them, they have reached lifes end. They are about to pass on into the next life; however, before they can pass on they each have some issue or loss in life that they must fix. The first example in poem is the wise man. Wisdom is often associated with age and maturity. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word wisdom means “the accumulated philosophic or scientific learning, the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships”. It also means “good sense, generally accepted belief, a wise attitude or course of action and the teachings of the ancient wise men”. If that is true then what does one so keen, so aware of how living things must cease to live, have to fix? Dylan Thomas appears to be telling us that wise men fear that they have not given their wisdom to others appropriately. It seems that wise men worry that all the wisdom they have accumulated over the many years of their existence was of no matter. Thomas has an eloquent way of phrasing things, 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 (Thomas ll. 1-6). To reiterate my point Thomas used the term of forked lightning this represents the wise men’s words. Lightning has been associated with God like activities since forever. For instance, in Greek mythos there were many Gods. The king of the Gods was named Zeus. When Zeus wanted to get the attention of someone or wanted to prove his authority he would use lightning. So when the wise men had forked no lightning it meant that they cold not get the attention of anyone. The second person in the poem is the good man. Good, like bad, have different meanings for different people. In William Shakespeares tragedy Julius Caesar the character in the story Mark Anthony said, The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones (Shakespeare 876). Good men according to Thomas are so because of the deeds they do. Their problems are always put into the background as they go forward to help others. The good people are heroes. They do things that are to be expected to be done and do not ask for reward. Thomas says Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright / Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay (Thomas ll. 7-8). In these lines it seems that Thomas is also saying that only at lifes end were they boastful and maybe if they lived a little for themselves their life would not have been a waste. The wild man is third character in the poem. Wildness is often associated with being carefree. The lack of caring and adventure are great, but soon the realization that when you live for the next minute time passes by and the moment is lost. You must cherish each moment for the next moment may be your last. Also you must take time to see what is going on around you and not look toward the future. In the movie Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the character Qui-Gon Jinn has a dialogue with another character in the movie, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Qui-Gon says, Keep your concentration here and now where it belongs. Obi-Won ponders by saying, But Master Yoda said I should be mindful of the future. Qui-Gon ends the conversation by saying, But not at the expense of the moment (Lucas). Thomas was clever in describing time when he wrote about the wild man. Time seems to be against him more than any other is, because he never took time to stop and feel the wind blow. Thomas furthermore loosely associates the wild man with the story of Icarus. Icarus was a Greek character from Greek mythology. He and his father, the inventor HYPERLINK “/mythica/articles/d/daedalus.html” Daedalus , decided to escape a prison by using wings built by Daedulus. If they flew to close to the sun the wax holding the wings together would melt. Icarus was so exhilarated to be free and fly he ignored the idea and perished. Daedulus was so saddened by the loss of his son he named the sea in which his son died the Icarian Sea. Thomas writes, 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 (Thomas ll. 11-12). He associates it in the sense that the wild man was so happy to be free he risked time, which is all people really have against them. The fourth person is the grave man, the man who dwells on death. He saw death coming a mile away and cringes in the appearance of his scythe. He sits and mourns his loss, but forgets to cherish what time he has left. Thomas again uses light and darkness as stages in existence: Grave men, near death, who see the blinding sight / Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay (Thomas ll. 13-14). The grave mans point of view is only that he is going to die and not that he still lives. He is so depressed when it comes to the darkness that he lets it smother him and he cannot see the light for it. If he would only fight the death a little he would realize that life is beckoning him not the other way around. Finally, Thomas digs deep into his own soul and talks briefly of his father. A father who is at lifes end. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes that death is often unexpected: It is a fact, however, that thousands of adults and children die suddenly and unexpectedly. This means that the survivors are not prepared and often react with great shock and numbness to the tragic news at a time when clear thinking and fast actions are mandatory (Kubler-Ross 163). Thomas writes, 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 (Thomas ll. 16-19). It seems that all Thomas wants is a reaction as his own father dies before his own eyes. It does not matter what reaction as long as his father fights. It sounds like he feels that his father is like the grave man. He is giving up before the battle is even near being fought. No one enjoys the fact that soon there comes a lifes end, but it does. The problem is that people often try to find what they have not done in life instead of what they have. The past is a play, whether or not you as a character in the great play have a big part or little one it does not matter. What matters is that you appreciate what you did in life and what you have gained from being alive.
Works Cited Kubler-Ross, Elizabeth. Living With Death and Dying. New York: MacMillan, 1981. Lucas, George. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Hollywood: 20th Century Fox, 1999. Shakespeare, William. Julius Caesar. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. London and Glasgow: Collins. 876. Thomas, Dylan. Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night. Literature and Ourselves. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1997; 553.
Word Count: 1295