Dylan Thomas was a great and famous writer and poet, who not only wrote poems and plays but also performed them himself. Thomas poetry was unique in that it was played in a verbal style as compared to other strict and common verse forms. This paper is a critical analysis of Dylan Thomas’ poetry and especially the theme of death and loss in his poetry.

Analysis of Death and Loss in Dylan Thomas’ Poetry

The first part of the poem “Death shall have no dominion” “and death shall have no dominion, dead mean naked they shall be one, with the man in the wind and the west moon” is about doom with no light or hope. In other words, the first part of this poem simply points at doom. Dylan Thomas introduces this poem in a strong way but with no life or hope at all. He suggests that death can have no dominion on the dead and that the dead can still be one. He does not suggest a way-out or portray a ray of hope (Thomas 1971). In the second part of the first paragraph, Dylan suggests that the dead can no longer feel pain or be subjected to torture. This means that, to Dylan’s mind, his life or the life of the people he was referring to is fixed in the meaning of their death. In other words, Dylan’s poem simply means that the only hope of these people is in their death. This is because, in their death, they shall be free from the blows and torture that they are currently experiencing in their lives. However, other critics have suggested that this first paragraph shows great hope and redemption. The critics have argued that this poem is a poem of hope that everything mad, harsh, insane and evil is overcome in the event of death or after death. The best line in the poem that drew many good reviews of the poem is “though lovers be lost, love will not”. This, according to many analysts, is a sign of hope. They argue that this line means that love will live on even after death. They also argue that this line talks of the preservation of life. According to this analyst, this poem is a very positive one. However, the nature and flow of this poem has no positive attributes. Other analysts call it a religious theme which is not about survival after death, but purely about death and destruction both in life and after death (Thomas 2003). Dylan wrote many poems that deal with death. For example, “A refusal to moan the death” refers to end of self-esteem and loss of identity of an individual. The poems “do not go gentle into that good night“ seen by many analysts as a cry for survival or a lost cry. The most outstanding character that is seen in this poem is Dylan’s fear of being left by his father. The line “rage, rage against the dying of the light” is a sign of the emotions that Dylan was going through or that he felt at the loss. Other analysts have suggested that Dylan was writing about a universal experience, mostly an experience of how men would react in such a scenario. It all has to do with the death but also shows a way of facing the prospect of death of a loved one. Rage, according to Dylan, was his reaction to the demise of his father; rage against his father and against death. This is because he had no power to change the course of events or his father’s death. Many good reviews on this poem state that one has to be sad sometimes and angry if there is a need. This poem shows also the rage against the things that would want to bury a person and the inability to change them. However, other critics have argued that this poem does not offer an option to fight against the things that want to bury them but to rage against them. Thus, they argue that this is a coward way-out. Dylan Thomas’ poetry has a unique flow that is woven and dominated by speech rhythms.

The Effect of Dylan Thomas’ poems on the audience

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Dylan Thomas did not only laid an impact and left a mark on the audience of his time as well as on the modern audience. Dylan’s poetry continues to draw reaction, views, reviews and criticism from many different people from different walks of life. These poems will continue to impact the coming generations. This is because Dylan Thomas remains a legendary figure of the century. He has also made a permanent mark in the literary history and field. Many recent writers are not only motivated by Dylan’s poems but also draw inspiration and ideas from these poems. This is simply because of Dylan’s extraordinary writing style that has touched and changed the very heart of poetry. Many scholars and analysts still cannot capture the height of the unique nature of his poetry style. His writing or poetry style was refreshing and odd at the same time. However, Dylan was accused and is still being accused of drowning in language and of whiskey consumption at the same time. However, this was not so. From the Dylan’s early history and his sober poems, it is clear that Dylan was very committed to his poems and did not sleep or drown on his job. Dylan’s unique talent has long been remembered for many decades after his death and it will continue to be remembered for many generations (Thomas 2000). The big question is who will fill his shoes. Did his talent die with him?

What Inspired Dylan Thomas to write his poems

Dylan Thomas poems clearly reveal and show a focus on his childhood and his beliefs. However, some of his poems show his belief in a sacred spiritual force that made his life worthwhile. The most outstanding aspects of his poems depict his uncertainty about the darkness and death. He probably wonders if the extensive darkness he experiences or thinks he will experience can ever be brightened. He does not see any hope in the darkness but is overwhelmed with the darkness. He expresses his anger and rage in his poems in a tactful manner and in a unique style (Thomas 2003). His unique style captures, attracts and draws attention. This is simply a means of  Dylan Thomas’ inspiration to write his poems that came from his personal experiences and beliefs. Some of his quotes such as “someone’s boring me, I think it is me”show that an alcoholic is someone you do not like and who drinks like you. This clearly shows how he viewed himself and his low self-esteem.

The Relation of Dylan’s Death to the Themes of his Poems

This question has attracted many reactions, views, and suggestions on the subject. Many people have viewed it as an unfair comparison. However, from his quote “a good poem is a contribution to reality” analysts suggest that he got what he wished. Dylan Thomas indulged in heavy drinking from his early days, a vice that had a negative effect both on his marriage and his life as a whole. His untimely death was due to his drinking. In his poems, he talks about rage and anger towards things that he had no control over. His fear and anger against death is clearly seen in his poems. The theme of his poems was death. The poem “A refusal to moan the death” was one of the most popular poems of his time (Thomas 2010). This poem was about death. Dylan’s attitude towards death is clearly seen in this poem. In this poem, Dylan or the person he is talking about is concerned and mourns the absurdity of a child’s death or an untimely death. To Thomas, the reality of death in his life was very important. The reality of death not only made him angry but also was a cause of concern about the afterlife or after death. What comes after death or after his untimely death was a way for him to face his worse fears and experience first hand what happens after life or what happens after death.


Dylan Thomas was a legendary figure that made an impact on his time and the 20th century as well. Dylan’s poetry will continue to impact many coming generations of the world. Many critics and the criticism will not in any way change the impact that Dylan’s poems have had. The unique writing style will continue to make history of the generations to come.

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