INVICTUS ANALYSIS by William Ernest Henley

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Information about INVICTUS ANALYSIS by William Ernest Henley

Published on March 2, 2014

Author: andIloveyoumorecupid



Report in English-American Literature


INVICTUS William Ernest Henley

INVICTUS Nelson Mandela film, title inspired by this poem

 Born in Gloucester, England  Educated at Crypt Grammar School and University of St. Andrews  A son of a struggling bookseller who died during his teenage years (father)  At 12, diagnosed with tubercular arthritis that necessitated the amputation of one of his legs.  Later, he developed the same infection to his other leg. Joseph Lister, saved his second leg through radical surgery.  Died at 53.

 He was in the hospital during his darkest hours when he wrote the Invictus.  He finally recovered after 20 months.  Reason to like Ernest - a poet whose themes engage in inner strengths and perseverance.  Numerous collections include A Book of Verses (1888), London Voluntaries (1893), and Hawthorne and Lavender (1899).  He edited the Scots Observer, later called National Observer  A close friend of Robert Louis Stevenson who based the character of Long John Silver of Treasure Island in part of Henley.

 Latin for unconquered, invincible, undefeated  A lyric poem in four-quatrain (four-lined stanzas), 16 lines  Written in 1875; published in 1892 in a collection Life and Death (Echoes).  Originally had no title until editor Arthur Quiller-Couch included the poem in The Oxford Book of English Verse.  A poem that shows how passionate and unconquered he is.

Stanza 1 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. Abode of evils; Pole to pole – everywhere Instead of succumbing to despair, Henley was able to be thankful that, though his body was beaten, his soul wasn’t. Night is a metaphor for suffering of any kind. The speaker compares the darkness of his suffering to the blackness of a hellish pit stretching from the north pole to the south pole. In line 4, unconquerable establishes the theme and a link with the title (Latin for unconquerable).

Stanza 2 In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody, but unbowed. Deadly grip Draw back, as with fear or pain Overcome (a stick/ armor) Even in the midst of horrible circumstances, Henley refused to let life defeat him, but instead he rose up and fought back Believes that simply fate happened to him and he was still in control of his own destiny He has high spirits, regardless of what happened; His body may have blood stains, but he is not ashamed. ALLITERATION: clutch, circumstance, cried; not and nor; bludgeoning, bloody, but and unbowed.

Stanza 3 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. Death Source of danger Henley’s belief of afterlife Even though he may not know what is to come, he is unafraid and ready for life.

Stanza 4 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. Narrow/Restricted Despite of the narrow gate, the fell clutch of circumstance and bludgeoning of chance, Henley, with the punishments allotted to him, will still pass the gate. Though his future has been established with a disease, he will continue on and control his own fate and soul.

“I am the master of my FATE: I am the captain of my SOUL.” delegat e us t o somet hing unchangable/ Fat e may reflection theme uncont r ollable but af t er all, we ar e t he ones in cont r ol of our own dest iny and soul. You cont r ol your own f at e t han anyone else ever will. I n t his wor ld t hat br ings us dest r uct ion, we can st ill be vict or ious t hr ough our own lif e awar eness and management .

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