Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” and John Milton’s poem “When I consider how my light is spent” were written during times of trouble in their respective poet’s life. Thomas was faced with losing his father to death; Milton was dealing with becoming completely blind at the age of forty-three. As each poet struggles to deal with the crisis occurring in his life, he makes a statement about the relationship between mankind and God, the reasons that God gives and then takes away certain gifts, and the proper way to live life. Thomas and Milton ended up with contrasting answers to these fundamental questions about life.
The poets’ use of personal events in their lives as a topic and their use of the personal pronouns “I” and “my” resolve possible questions of voice in both poems. Because Thomas refers directly to “my father” (line 6) and Milton opens his poem with the line “When I consider how my light is spent” (1), the reader can, with some basic knowledge of the history of each poem, reasonably assume that the poet and the speaker are interchangeable. Both Thomas and Milton chose to share their private thoughts on intensely personal matters with the world through their poems. By drawing from their own experiences, the poets give these works a tone that resonates with the reader because he/she can connect the words of the poem with his/her own life.
Thomas and Milton present contrasting views of the relationship between mankind and God or the inevitable events of life. Thomas sees humans as having some degree of control; his father may not be able to live forever, bu…
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…erent men at very different points in history, but both poets were struggling with difficult situations and trying to decide how they should react. Although their final conclusions are completely opposite , the raw emotion behind each poem resonates with the reader whether the poem is 45 or 345 years old. The human struggle to understand life, regret, and why God gives and withholds certain gifts will continue as long as humanity exists; each person who considers these questions will come to his/her own personal conclusions just as Thomas and Milton did.
Milton, John. “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Compact Edition. Ed. David Damrosch. New York: Longman, 2000.
Thomas, Dylan. “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” Literature and Ourselves. Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, 1997.
Shakespeare’s Othello – The Character of Iago
The Character of Iago in Othello
One of the most intriguing characters in the tragic play “Othello,” by William Shakespeare, is Othello’s “friend” Iago. At first glance, Iago seems to have no motive for the destruction he is causing. However, despite Iago’s unquestionable malignancy, the motivation behind his actions lie more in Iago’s quest for personal gain, as opposed to just being evil for evil’s sake. In order to achieve his personal gain Iago manipulates Rodrigo, Cassio and, most importantly, Othello.
Iago’s main interest is the destruction of Othello. The reason being that Othello has chosen another man, Cassio, as his second-in-command, preferring him to Iago. This resentment, accompanied by Iago’s fabricated accusations of adultery and his blatant racism, cause Iago to despise Othello, and shortly thereafter, begin to conspire against him. Instead of just killing Othello, Iago proceeds to attack him emotionally. Iago begins to manipulate the people around him in order to hurt Othello and make him think that his wife, Desdimona, and Cassio are having an affair.
The first to fall victim to Iago’s manipulation, is Rodrigo. Iago knows Rodrigo has feelings Desdemona, and would do anything to make her his own. Iago tells Rodrigo that the only way to win Desdemona’s love, is to make money to procure gifts for her. “…put money in thy purse..” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 339). However, Iago is just taking those gifts intended for Desdemona and keeping them for himself, and in doing so, making a substantial profit. “Thus do I ever make my fool my purse” (Act 1, Scene 3, Line 376). Rodrigo eventually starts to question Iago’s honesty. When faced with this accusation, Iago simply offers that killing Cassio will aid his cause and the gullible Rodrigo falls for it. “I have no great devotion to the deed and yet he has given me satisfying reason,” (Act 5, Scene 1, Line 8). In doing this, Iago keeps Rodrigo in the dark and continues to profit from him monetarily. Cassio, like Rodrigo, follows Iago blindly, thinking the whole time that Iago is trying to aid him, when in-fact, Iago, motivated by his lust for power, is attempting to depose Cassio of his position as lieutenant. Iago does this by getting Cassio drunk and causing him to get in a fight and disturb Othello, Othello then demotes Cassio of his rank as second-in-command thus securing the position for Iago.