This poem by Dylan Thomas shows similarities to the ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy in Hamlet, however it has a strong difference in tone. In the soliloquy Hamlet is contemplating ending his life whereas in the poem the poet is repetitively telling people to fight against death. This is present in the meter. Iambic pentameter could be likened to a heart beat which could also be interpreted to show the inevitable, as a heartbeat doesn’t stop untill you eventually die. This means it could also symbolise fate that runs in the background of our lives dictating what we do and what happens to us. In Hamlet there is a strong presence of the idea of fate which is clear by the strong Iambic pentameter in the soliloquy. On the other hand the first line of each stanza is in Iambic pentameter but the second line has a weaker meter and then the final line has no iambic pentameter at all. This shows how the people in ‘Do not go gentle into that goodnight’ are fighting against death, because in the first line they are being controlled by fate and being slowly brought to their uneventful death. Then the next line shows that they are starting to fight it as they are slightly changing the meter and thus pushing back against fate. Finally in the last line of each stanza they manage to break free of the shackles of destiny and rage against the obvious path. Hamlet also talks about fighting against fate but in a different way, he says that he wants to break away by ending his life and not going through all of the turmoil of living.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: