Posted in Life Gyan

Do Not Go Gentle Into The Night…

The words “Do not go gentle into the night…” caught my attention in the movie Interstellar which is a science fiction movie directed, co-written and produced by Christopher Nolan in 2014.

The movie is set in a dystopian future where humanity is struggling to survive. The film follows the adventures of a group of astronauts who travel through a wormhole near Saturn in search of a new home for mankind.

It is a quite popular movie and very intriguing. So during the lockdown I was drawn to watch it once again as if some unanswered questions were pulling me towards it. I completed the movie and this poem is what I found. If you are interested in movies about space exploration you will like it too.

Let us first go through the famous poem by Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) titled “Do not go gentle into that good night” before we try and understand what it means.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The beauty of many poems is that different people interpret the same text differently. This is because we all are unique beings by virtue of our upbringing, our perceptions of the world – honed by our experiences. Two people going through the same events of life experience them differently. Also culture, heritage and personal values play an important role as to how we interpret the words we come across. 

The reason why I like this poem is because it talks about making a mark on the canvas of this world. It speaks about perseverance and never-say-die attitude even though death is inevitable. It gives the message that when we accept our mortality, we understand what really matters in our life.

The author acknowledges that death is inevitable—We are all mortal beings and everyone has to die one day.

wise men at their end know dark is right

But that doesn’t mean that we should simply give up and give in to death. Instead, people should fight, fiercely and bravely, against death because life is precious and worth fighting for.

He goes on to say that when these people are confronted with death, they realise that they haven’t accomplished everything they wanted to. It connects them with their mortality and they fight against death so that they can have more time and leave a bigger impact on the world.

Similarly, the “wild men” that the author describes in lines 10-12, have spent their lives in a joyous and reckless fashion: they “caught and sang the sun in flight.” But, when they face death, they realize that that they “grieved it on its way.” In other words, they realize that they have regrets about the frivolous way they spent their time on Earth. Thus they fight for more time so that they can do something more worthwhile.

In both cases, then, death helps these very different people realize that their lives are precious—and that they need to use their time on earth as best as they can. The inevitability of death offers them a kind of corrective mechanism, helping them reconnect with what really matters in life. So even though death is inevitable, it’s worth fighting bravely against, because doing so helps reveal what really matters in life.


I am a software consultant by profession and reside in Hyderabad, India. I love to travel, listen to music, cook and make friends.

Do share your thoughts on this post...