38 pages 1 hour read

Dylan Thomas

Under Milk Wood

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1954

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Part 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1 Summary

Under Milk Wood begins “at the beginning” (3), one night in the fictional Welsh coastal town of Llareggub (the town’s name is the vulgar British slang term “bugger all,” which means “nothing,” in reverse). The play employs two narrators, First Voice and Second Voice. First Voice speaks directly to the audience, welcoming them to Llareggub. The town is small and somewhat in decline. The nighttime scene is quiet, the sky is dark and without a moon, and First Voice guides the audience along the cobbled streets and the nearby forest known as Milk Wood. Milk Wood is locally known as a place for secret meetings between lovers.

Together with Second Voice, First Voice enters the townspeople’s homes and describes their dreams and nightmares. Just as First Voice is keen to move on, Second Voice insists that they linger with Captain Cat. The retired sea captain is now blind. His dreams are haunting visions of his friends and colleagues who drowned at sea. They long to return to the land of the living. Captain Cat also dreams of Rosie Probert, a woman he once loved.

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