Who does not cower in fear upon the thought of death? Almost everybody does! However, people have differing views on the abstract idea of dying. In examining the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? by Emily Dickinson and “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? by Dylan Thomas, it is evident that the poets use contrasting and comparative techniques in their unique presentations of the concept of death. In the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? Emily Dickinson presents the idea of acceptance of death, whereas in the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night?Dylan Thomas presents the idea of refusal and opposition to death.
Despite the differences in theme, these two poets both use similar figurative language devices, such as metaphors, personification and alliteration as they explore their contrasting ideas pertaining to the concept of death. Through the use of their same literacy techniques, both of the authors have presented two very different perceptions on death: Dickinson’s message is acceptance whereas Thomas? is rejection. The poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? by Emily Dickinson is composed of six quatrains; four-line stanzas.All the odd number lines are written in iambic tetrameter and have eight syllables.
Meanwhile, all the even number lines are written in iambic trimeter and have six syllables. The alternating lengths of the meters (eight and six syllables) resemble a falling stream of water, allowing nature (death) to take it to wherever nature desires to. Dickinson structures her poem to present her theme of accepting death calmly and willingly. On the other hand, the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? by Dylan Thomas is a form of villanelle with two important refrains; “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? nd “rage, rage against the dying of the light?.
Just like the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? by Emily Dickinson, this poem is also composed of six stanzas; however, the leading five stanzas are tercets (three-line stanzas) with an ending stanza as a quatrain. Although both poems are written using iambs, a contrasting difference is evident between them; “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? is written using an alternating trimetric and tetrametric system while “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? is written in a consistent pentameter form (five feet in each meter).Thomas structures his poem using a simple and tight formal structure to convey a sense of commanding to his father in overcoming death. The differences and similarities in the style and meter structure utilized by each poet, contributes to the presentation of their own unique ideas regarding death.
Both of the poems explore the concept of death. However, through careful examination, although they are similar in a sense, one can distinguish the variation of the same theme.Theme is considered the most important element in a poem. In the poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? he theme undoubtedly revolves around death but approaches towards the refusal of death, encouraging readers to “rage? against the absurdity of death.
Conversely, the theme of the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? pertains to accepting death peacefully. In the poem “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? the speaker of the poem accepts death calmly as “He kindly stopped [es] for me [the speaker]? and takes the speaker to a carriage with nobody except a character named “immortality?.It is surprising that the speaker shows no signs of fear or grief but instead leaves behind her leisure and labour in return for “his [Death’s] civility? or driving the carriage with “no haste?. On the other hand, Thomas demonstrates a different point of view of death.
Thomas provides examples of wise, good, wild and grave men to extend his idea of rejection to death. For example, “wise men? should not accept death so easily until their words and actions have “forked lightning? even though they understand the inevitability of death; “grave men? who are so close to death should definitely not give in to death for they see the happiness in life (Blind eyes could blaze like meteors).By providing these four examples, Thomas pleads his father to “curse? im with his “fierce tears? and fight against death. Although both of the poems consist of death, the attitude and beliefs are evidently different.
The theme for “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? is the acceptance of death whereas the theme for “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? is the refusal of death. Despite thematic differences between these poems, the uses of figurative devices to present their themes have some similarities. Poets often use figurative language to deepen and expand the meaning of their poems. Some of the figurative devices that Dickinson uses in her poem are imagery and personification.
At the start of the poem, “Death? is being personified as the speaker’s fianc? (since the speaker wears her “gossamer gown? ) who “kindly stopped for me [the speaker]?. Then in stanza 4, the first line, the “setting sun? is being described as if it were a human who “passed [es] us [speaker and Death]?. The effective use of personification provokes extensive thought and even perhaps dramatizes the theme. Imagery often evokes sensory perceptions; Dickinson understands this and uses this technique in her poem.
Imagery can be seen in stanza 4 where the speaker “quivering[s] and chill[s]?.This imagery reinforces the fact that the speaker is a fianc? wearing a “gossamer gown? and getting ready to marry death or in other words, to accept death’s company to her life. The effective use of figurative language and vivid imagery help Dickinson conveys her theme clearly. In comparison, Dylan Thomas also makes use of not only personification but also similes and oxymoron to develop his poem.
Personification is used in stanza 3 with the phrase “fail deeds might have danced? which explains why good men should “rage against? death. Other than personification, oxymoron and simile are used.Oxymoron can be seen in stanza 5 shown with the words “blinding sight?. Also in the same stanza, simile is used with phrase “blind eyes could blaze like meteors?.
Through the use of both oxymoron and simile, the message of “rage against the dying of the light? is visible. Both of the poets use a variety of differing and similar figurative elements to develop their themes and provoke thoughts and create vivid perceptual images in the reader’s mind. It is unquestionable that these two poems have their similarities as well as differences in themes, style and writing techniques.Despite this fact, both poems delve into the concept of death, with a different point of view.
“Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night? insists on resisting death whereas “Because I Could Not Stop For Death? insists on accepting death calmly. From these two poems, one can conclude that no matter what ones? point of views on death are, death is still inevitable and will happen to everybody; but one gets to choose to either accept it peacefully like the poem by Dickinson suggests or fight against it as Thomas? poem suggests.