And Death Shall Have No Dominion Summary Line By Line, And Death Shall Have No Dominion is a powerful and complex poem written by Dylan Thomas. In this analysis, we will explore the poem line by line, dissecting its themes, literary devices, and the overall meaning embedded in the poet’s words.
And Death Shall Have No Dominion Summary Line By Line
Dylan Thomas’s writing style, exemplified in “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” (1933), is characterized by a profound and lyrical expression that weaves intricate and vivid imagery. In this particular poem, Thomas employs a distinctive blend of rhythmic language and potent metaphors to explore the theme of eternal life and the triumph over death. His use of repetition, such as the recurring line “And death shall have no dominion,” serves to emphasize the resilience and defiance against mortality. Thomas’s poetic voice is both introspective and universal, as he contemplates the human condition and the enduring nature of love. The poem unfolds with a cadence that is almost incantatory, drawing the reader into a contemplative journey where life’s struggles and the inexorable force of death are explored with emotional intensity. Through his evocative language and symbolic imagery, Dylan Thomas creates a work that resonates with a timeless and universal quality, inviting readers to reflect on the profound mysteries of existence.
And death shall have no dominion.
The opening line sets the tone for the entire poem, declaring a defiance against death. The use of “shall” conveys a sense of inevitability, but the assertion that death will have “no dominion” suggests a rebellion against the traditional idea of death as an absolute and final authority.
Dead men naked they shall be one With the man in the wind and the west moon;
The poet imagines a state of post-death existence where individuals are united with nature. The image of “dead men naked” invokes vulnerability and exposes the raw essence of human mortality. The mention of the “man in the wind and the west moon” symbolizes the elements of nature, suggesting a merging of human existence with the larger cosmic forces.
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone, They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Here, Thomas employs vivid imagery to describe the decomposition of the body. The phrase “bones picked clean” conjures a stark and visceral image of the physical remains of a person. However, the subsequent mention of “stars at elbow and foot” introduces a celestial element, hinting at a spiritual transcendence or an afterlife among the cosmic realms.
Though they go mad they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
The poet explores the idea of mental and physical resurrection. Even in madness or amidst the depths of the sea, there is an assertion that the departed will regain sanity and rise again. This suggests a cyclical nature of existence, where death is not the end but a phase in a perpetual cycle.
Though lovers be lost love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.
Thomas introduces the theme of enduring love beyond the confines of mortality. The separation of lovers by death is acknowledged, but the persistence of love beyond death is emphasized. The repetition of the opening line reinforces the overarching message of defiance against death.
And death shall have no dominion. Under the windsocks.
The recurrence of the opening line acts as a refrain, emphasizing the poem’s central theme. The mention of “windsocks” introduces a new element, possibly alluding to a location associated with wind, flight, or movement. This imagery may symbolize the continuation of life and spirit beyond the physical realm.
His dry, boned face always turned to the sun; Worship the jackal and the Dove, As the dead in their tracery sleep,
The poet introduces specific images – the dry, boned face turned to the sun – depicting a sort of eternal vigilance or devotion. The mention of the jackal and the Dove brings in contrasting symbols, possibly representing both darkness and light, death and purity. The dead, depicted as sleeping with tracery, suggests a peaceful repose in death.
Where the nettle met the rose, He kissed the forehead of the lynx; Love the dove and the jackal.
These lines continue the theme of embracing opposites. The juxtaposition of the nettle and the rose, the forehead of the lynx, and the dove and the jackal emphasizes the coexistence of contradictory elements. It speaks to a universal acceptance of all aspects of life, whether perceived as positive or negative.
And death shall have no dominion. In the fire of the sun.
The repetition of the opening line, again followed by an additional image, reinforces the defiance against death. The “fire of the sun” introduces a potent symbol, suggesting both the life-giving force of the sun and the purifying aspect of fire. This line could imply a transformative or regenerative power associated with celestial bodies.
Make green graves and their gold hair grey; With the bone, black girls in the grass And the stone boys awake.
The imagery of “green graves” and turning “gold hair grey” evokes a sense of time passing and the inevitable aging of the deceased. The mention of black girls in the grass and stone boys awake adds a layer of diversity, emphasizing the universality of death across different races and genders.
And death shall have no dominion. And death shall have no dominion.
The repetition of the central theme, almost like a chant, underscores the poet’s unwavering stance against the dominion of death. This repetition serves to embed the message deep within the reader’s consciousness, making it a powerful and memorable assertion.
Under the windsocks. They shall lie down in their magic beds. All the dead in the world;
The reference to “magic beds” introduces an element of fantasy or transcendence in death. The image of all the dead lying down together suggests a collective unity in the face of mortality, perhaps transcending individual differences and experiences.
And death shall have no dominion. They shall drink dawn in the night Time;
The recurring theme of death having no dominion is coupled with an evocative image of the dead drinking dawn in the night time. This image suggests a reversal of natural order, emphasizing the idea that in death, individuals may experience a new and transformative existence beyond the constraints of earthly time.
They shall eat flowers in the spring,
The symbolism of eating flowers in springtime conveys a sense of perpetual renewal and the beauty that can be found in the cycles of life and death. It also echoes the idea of finding nourishment and sustenance in the afterlife.
And death shall have no dominion. Under the windsocks.
The poem concludes with a final reiteration of its central theme. The reference to “windsocks” persists, suggesting a continued resistance against the forces of death. The repetition serves as a poetic mantra, leaving a lasting imprint on the reader’s mind. And Death Shall Have No Dominion Summary Line By Line