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Invictus Analysis



Author: poem of William Ernest Henley Type: poem Views: 82


Out of the night that covers me,  
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,  
I thank whatever gods may be  
  For my unconquerable soul.  
  
In the fell clutch of circumstance          
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.  
Under the bludgeonings of chance  
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.  
  
Beyond this place of wrath and tears  
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,  
And yet the menace of the years  
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.  
  
It matters not how strait the gate,  
  How charged with punishments the scroll,  
I am the master of my fate:  
  I am the captain of my soul.  


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||




.: :.

I believe this poem was written whilst he was lying in bed recovering from a leg amputation at the knee. The year 1875 age 26!
A quite remarkable reflection of his own situation.
Also referenced as an inspirational work by Nelson Mandela whilst he was incarcerated on Robbin Island all those years.
Hamish Paterson

| Posted on 2012-03-28 | by a guest


.: :.

inspiring,truly courage can face adversities of life...

| Posted on 2011-09-13 | by a guest


.: :.

although i don\'t understand it well,i know that this poem has a very powerful meaning and i admit that the last two lines are so nice....but i love the poem

| Posted on 2011-02-27 | by a guest


.: :.

so love this poem!!
I\'m only 14 years and I already adore it!!
Special the last two sentences!!

| Posted on 2010-11-16 | by a guest


.: :.

wow dugo ilong ku dun ah hehehehe joke i love this poem because its meaningful i love it hehehehe?:P

| Posted on 2010-07-30 | by a guest


.: :.

i love this poem..
i love the last two lines...
it captivates me..
it sets my strength very inspiring..
it reminds me how does my strength must be in times of trials and no one can help me..

| Posted on 2010-03-29 | by a guest


.: :.

very inspiring. I'll keep this us an inspiration. People who are lovers of poem could understand this well.
" Short poem with too much substance".

| Posted on 2010-03-16 | by a guest


.: :.

Although the poem has a dark and pessimistic tone about the world, it can bring feelings of hope. The last lines give a sense of certainty that we can have control over our lives;
"I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul"
this makes the poem powerful; sometimes in life we can feel like we are drifting and under the power of external forces, however we still have free agency and the ability to choose how we deal with our circumstances. I don't think it matters whether it is a religious ethic or not, it is still inspiring. (Especially since it was used for the film Invictus)
:D

| Posted on 2010-02-23 | by a guest


.: :.

i think this is an amazing poem that shows the bravery and perseverence a person can have. i love the last stanza, and the last 2 lines; I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

| Posted on 2010-02-14 | by a guest


.: :.

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

Polytheists are uncivilized persons. They worship the sea, the sun, the rocks etc. This poem is sooo stupid as it can be.... I will never promote this poem to anyone.

| Posted on 2010-02-05 | by a guest


.: :.

This is just a beautiful poem. Got me through the tough times in school and uni. Im getting the last stanza tattooed on my side to remind me of my strength. I moving poem that has been remembered through the ages.

| Posted on 2009-10-20 | by a guest


.: :.

The unknown Suffragette in the blog, x quotes the whole poem in her Diary recording her imprisonment in Holloway in 1909.
It is clear that she feels that it is up to her what she does and that she is responsible for her actions and whatever results from those actions.She may be ;bloody' but is unbowed' and she is most certainly 'The Master of her fate' and the Captain of her soul'
Read the Diary with the poem in mind and you have your analysis.

| Posted on 2009-07-19 | by a guest


.: :.

Henley is an atheist based on his almost comical reference to "whatever gods may be." I have always assumed "Black as the Pit from pole to pole" is a reference to a coal mine loosely referred to as a Pit and pole to pole takes its meaning from the wooden props used to support the shaft. Simply stated Henley demonstrates as humans we add up to nothing more then the sum of our decisions and what random chance throws our way. It is a somewhat depressing and bleak view of the world but accurate in the absence of any religious conviction. The obligation of an individual is first to take responsibility for your own situation and then to deal with it or have it deal with you. I love the poem and find it simple yet powerful! If you like this poem you should also read "You" by Edgar Guest.

| Posted on 2009-07-01 | by a guest


.: :.

I think the last stanza is defiant towards an afterlife which might be only dictated by God, therefore defiant to God. This might also be his anger to God for the "fell clutch of circumstance" he has been dealt in life. William Wadsworth

| Posted on 2009-06-25 | by a guest


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i fell in love with this poem after reading it. it reminds me of a friend whose incarcerated. I love it. very touching

| Posted on 2009-06-10 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem kept me going through my battle with Cancer. This poem stirkes me deep in the soul. It is rare to find these days.

| Posted on 2009-05-06 | by a guest


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STOP HATING. ITS AWESOME. WRITERS AREN'T MESSED UP IN THE HEAD.

| Posted on 2009-02-10 | by a guest


.: :.

the poem is very nice.
i want to know some thing this poem and i just take this.

| Posted on 2009-01-15 | by a guest


.: :.

This poem just shows how unright in the head writers really are

| Posted on 2009-01-08 | by a guest


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This is a wonderful poem by a known writer William Ernest Henry. It captivates the reader and depicts a frightful, yet wonderful scenario.

| Posted on 2008-12-31 | by a guest


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This is a good poem. I will deliberate this in our class. ^^

| Posted on 2008-12-17 | by a guest


.: the poem :.

this is the best poem that i ever gonna read because
this is the poem that use the writer his heart and not mind your admirely fan christian arana

| Posted on 2008-03-03 | by a guest


.: :.

this is the best poem that i ever gonna read because
this is the poem that use the writer his heart and not mind your admirely fan christian arana

| Posted on 2008-03-03 | by a guest


.: :.

this is the best poem that i ever gonna read because
this is the poem that use the writer his heart and not mind

| Posted on 2008-03-03 | by a guest


.: i just love poetry :.

i have read several years ago from my book. it really makes me cry. in fact this poem has to do with my book pacemaker wherein the character suffer as what mr. henly had. it touched my heart

| Posted on 2008-02-06 | by a guest


.: i just love poetry :.

i have read several years ago from my book. it really makes me cry. in fact this poem has to do with my book pacemaker wherein the character suffer as what mr. henly had. it touched my heart

| Posted on 2008-02-06 | by a guest


.: Formalist Criticism :.

Invictus is a Latin word that translates into English as unconquerable. The poem “Invictus” is a personal explanation of William Ernest Henley’s past, present, and future and his inability to be conquered. Since the poem of the unconquerable William Ernest Henley is an original work, in line 1 of stanza 1, and throughout the entirety of the poem, the words “me” and “I” can only be a self reference to Henley.
In the first stanza of the poem, Henley emerges from his dark lonely Hell that had enclosed his entire world. Noticing Henley has capitalized “Pit,” it is obvious he is referring to an actual destination filled with pain and suffering. To further this Hell, Henley writes that its darkness stretched “from pole to pole.” When trying to understand this line, one must think in terms of the Earth’s magnetic poles, north and south. This reference is clearly a connotation to explain the world (his everyday life) he lived in was covered with and belonged to the dark, black Hell he emerges from.
In stanza two, circumstance and chance are given brutal personifications. While circumstance has a barbaric grip, chance is personified with the ability to inflict blunt force trauma. However excruciating the torturous ways of circumstance and chance are to Henley, he was unable to be conquered. The text denotes that circumstance is infrequent and overwrought, while chance is a constant beating that is most frequently carried out. Henley implies these denotations by wording the effects of circumstance in a past tense form, while keeping the bleeding from the beatings of chance in the present tense.
Henley refers to the spiritual realm in stanza three; however, this is not the first time in his poem he has stated his belief in the spiritual realm. In the first stanza, Henley, “thanks whatever gods may be.” By “thanking whatever gods may be,” Henley admits his uncertainty about the superior powers in the spiritual realms. In stanza three, however, a more confident and spiritually knowledgeable Henley notes what is to be encountered after death. Considering Henley was a living, breathing being when he wrote this poem, his reference to “this place” as being filled with wrath and tears is obviously his way of describing society and the physical world. The reference to death is seen in the wording “the menace of the years.” The understanding that time’s only menace is death is understood by realizing an individual’s time is stopped only in death. This menace, death, Henley says “shall find [him], unafraid.”
The reason for Henley’s unwavering composure is fully explained in stanza four. Henley explains his future confidence by stating how “it matters not” how much of a saint or sinner he has been in his life. Henley is in charge of his soul and its direction both in the physical and the spiritual realms. Henley’s personal view of his soul/himself as unconquerable in the past, present, and future are blatantly clear in this text…even through the lens of formalism.

TC Eckstein
tceckstein@yahoo.com


| Posted on 2007-10-31 | by a guest




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