In Interstellar, Professor Brand keeps repeating a poem by Dylan Thomas:

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.

(usually just the first 3 lines)

Is there any significance to it? Why does the Professor (usually) end his discussions this way?

These were his final words as well.


2 Answers 2


It is an exhortation to live life to the full, right to the very end.

Dylan Thomas saw many individuals who, in their twilight years, became less active in life. Resting on their laurels if you will, as their twilight years drift into the final darkenss.

The poem is intended to inspire the reader to continue to achieve right up to the end of life. Do not go quietly into night - do not just sit back and wait for the darkness.

Several of the characters, as time passes in their respective timelines, keep achieving, keep striving to better themselves and humanity.

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    I think the message is also about resisting death, not just about trying to do as much as you can before you die. Professor Brand knew humanity was facing extinction and was trying his best to prevent that, mainly with plan B since he believed plan A couldn't work. I guess you could say that from his perspective, plan A was about trying to continue to achieve even in the face of inevitable death (he had a line about how work on the colonies was keeping people from fighting wars), while plan B was about trying to actually avoid death.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 27, 2014 at 14:52
  • @Hypnosifl: I think you swapped plan A/B in that last sentence? Nov 29, 2014 at 0:02
  • @Lightness Races in Orbit - No, plan A was the plan to "solve gravity" and launch the colonies off the Earth, which Professor Brand had come to believe was futile (the 'I lied to you' comments on his deathbed) and had no value other than keeping people on Earth busy before their inevitable death, while plan B was the one involving the frozen embryos, which Professor Brand believed could actually allow the human race to avoid extinction.
    – Hypnosifl
    Nov 29, 2014 at 2:45
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    @Hypnosifl: Plan A was about "trying to actually avoid death" by literally saving the people on Earth. Plan B was about "trying to continue to achieve" (i.e. the continuation of the human race with frozen embryos) "even in the face of inevitable death" (i.e. the people on Earth would die anyway). Two ways of shaking the same stick, I suppose. I can see it both ways now. Nov 29, 2014 at 15:01
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    @Hypnosifl: Sure. I'm just explaining why, the way I'd interpreted it, I thought you may have accidentally typo'd A and B. You did say "from his perspective", though I'd still argue that my interpretation holds right up until the point that Brand realised Plan A was futile ;) Nov 29, 2014 at 15:04

I believe that it is his reason to keep the operation a secret from the rest of the world. If they knew that the end would come that soon, they would have given up. They would have gone quietly. Instead, they would have kept working, expecting the dust storm or whatever killed them to end. Until it was too late.

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