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He writes of “wise…good…wild…[and] grave” (Thomas 1971) men who each in their own way face death. For example, “Wise men know dark is right.” They accept death (“dark”) as being part of the natural order of things. Yet they think that, due to their wisdom, they ought to be recognized or perhaps even famous. “Because their words had forked no lightning they / Do not go gentle into that good night” (1971). “Wild men who caught and sang the sun…too late…grieved [it]. Thomas wields a constant light/dark imagery to draw a distinction between the life and last moments of each type of man and death. This dichotomy of life (“light…bright…sun”) and death (“dying of the light…green [i.e. dark] bay…dark…blinding sight”) all serve to underscore the transition that all men must endure (Thomas 1971). “Grave men…with blinding sight,” wishing they did not see the evils and sufferings of life, realize that “blind eyes,” prevent one from seeing the world and thus render their subject “gay.” Finally, Thomas personalizes the poem. The final man facing death is his own father, for whom he would do anything to keep alive. He begs him not “to go gentle into that good night. / Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Thus Thomas employs color and light to negotiate the human fate of life unto death. Accepting the death of another is easier than the death of a loved one. By grieving the death of his father, Thomas faces his own mortality and is not left
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Save the most isolated hermit, at one point in his/her life, every person must confront and ultimately accept the death of another. This is not to confer a sense of ease regarding this experience. The real thing is without question more striking, heart-rendering, and even life-changing than any individual thought written and expressed here.
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