Life and Death in Frost's Stopping by Woods and Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle
Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" and Dylan Thomas' "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night" reflect deeply on both life and death. Frost interprets death as rest and peace from a hard and deserving life, whereas Thomas depicts death as an early end to an unfulfilled life. Contrary to Thomas's four characters who rage against death because of its premature arrival, Frost's speaker accepts death but is inclined to live for promises; therefore both Frost and Thomas choose life over death, but for conflicting reasons.
Robert Frost's deeply-rooted beliefs in nature influence him to view death positively. Through enticing images of solitude and relaxation and peaceful diction, Frost explains why nature and death coincide. Frost makes "mysteries, such as death, resolve into the natural" and suddenly the "mysterious becomes simple" (Nicholl 194). His choice to use "darkest evening of the year" helps to set the mystery surrounding death, but the simplicity of the character and the scenery bring death closer to nature; "suddenly the absolute is brought near, and made almost visible" (Nicholl 194). The individual man encountering woods that are "lovely, dark, and deep" create a contradiction of feelings that intertwine the mystery and simplicity of death. The "dark" and "deep" foreshadow the fears and enigmas of dying. The "lovely" negates the anxiety and demonstrates the excitement and desire to die. Though death seems scary and unknown, it is also wonderful and peaceful to the central character. The traveler appears desiring a rest and death is an enchanting choice. With pleasant images as "easy wind and downy flake," the man becomes at ease with nature as it lures him into its realm of repose. This man seems ready to die; the woods, his temptress.
Contrary to Frost?s peaceful, luring diction and images, Dylan Thomas uses forceful, irate words to deter death. "No poet gives a greater sense of the feel of life" as Thomas, who provokes the reader to "rage" against death (Ackerman 407). Thomas conveys a resistance towards death with images of fury and fighting, as in "do not go gentle." Vivacious words as "blaze" and "burn" intensify desires to live on and to the fullest. With images of "good night" and "dying of the light," Thomas conveys death as the "end where only darkness prevails" (Savage 381). He takes his "stand within concrete, particular existence, he places birth and death at the poles of his vision" (Savage 381). "Life [for Thomas] begins at birth and ceases at death" therefore leaving no room for a previous life or an after life (Savage 381). Excessive images of anger and rage towards death exemplify the passion Thomas feels for life. His villanelle repeats the theme of living and fury through the most forceful two lines, "do not go gentle into that good night" and "rage, rage against the dying of the light." Contrasting images of light...