Invictus

An Interpretation of Invictus: an Interpretive Study of the Poem by William Ernest Henley

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley the writer has given us a glimpse of the theme in the title itself. Invictus means unconquerable or undetected in Latin. Knowing that this poem was written by Henley while he was in the hospital being treated for tuberculosis of the bone. This only helps strengthen my thesis that this poem is about strength and perseverance in the faces of death.

The first stanza is about strength and death. The entire stanza is basically stating that the author woke up from the dark knight that he describes in the poem. He was thankful for waking up because he does not wish to die. Although he does not wish to die he knows that he will die one day. He states this in the sentence “I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul”. I believe that the author was thinking dark because he was on his death bed. You can see that he is thinking dark when he uses phrases like “out of the night that covers me” and “black as the pit from pole to pole”. When he wakes up the next morning and is still alive he is thankful so he is thinking happy thoughts because he is still alive.

The second stanza is about the author persevering through his troubles. “In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud”. In this sentence the author is stating that under the sinister hold of circumstance he has preserved through his troubles. Henley also states that under the beatings of chance the authors head is bloody but unbowed. This is basically stating that even though he has taken the many beatings of life he is not giving up. I believe that he is talking mostly about his strength and how he is fighting to stay alive. When he is talking about strength he says things like “I have not winced nor cried aloud” and “My head is bloody but unbowed”. When he is talking about fighting to stay alive he says things like “In the fell clutch of circumstance” and “Under the bludgeoning’s of chance.”

The third stanza is mostly about death. “Beyond this place of wrath and tears.” This sentence is talking about the Earth. The writer is describing earth as a place of harshness, pain and tears. “And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid.” This statement is saying that the author is not afraid of death and will never be afraid. I believe that Henley was thinking that for him life was hell for him so he writes about it. You can see this when he uses sentences like “looms the horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years” and “beyond this place of wrath and tears.” I believe that the poet was having another bad day because he goes back into writing really dark stuff. For example the realm of the dead, harshness and tears.

The final stanza is talking about the author’s strength to go forward. “It matters not how straight the gait or how charged with punishments the scroll.” This is stating that he does not care how narrow the gait is to get to where he is going or how many punishments are destined for him for whenever he gets where he is going. He will decide where he goes whether it be heaven or hell. “I am the master of my fate I am the captain of my soul.” I believe that the when writing the author was thinking about the end of his goal because he knows that it is almost his time.

All of the evidence that I have provided supports my thesis which is to have strength and perseverance in the face of death. In the end the author realizes that he is the master of his life. In life you will always have to make decisions that will steer your fate one way or another but you are the only one to blame for your outcome.

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Invictus and the Concept of Fate Belief and Free Will

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

Unbelief in fate is a good idea. No matter what goes on in life many times one’s always in charge of his own action. Because one’s responsible for his life and can decide what he wants to make out of it. So the future does not depend on destiny, because everyone has freedom of choice. One’s consequence depends on his choice and it is possible to overcome it. In the poem “Invictus” the author William Ernest Henley depicts his deepest insights of how he can take control of his life under various circumstances. Henley is describing himself to be greater than life situations. Henley has suffered in his life with a disease in which he was close to death. Henley emphasizes the title “Invictus” which means “unconquerable.” Henley effectively uses the word “unconquerable” throughout the poem to express the overall meaning of the poem. Henley uses various techniques to prove his point in the poem. The two poetic devices that Henley commonly uses in the poem “Invictus” are metaphor and imagery. The term metaphor means a figure of speech in which two unlike objects are compared by identification or by the substitution of one for the other, does not use the words “like” or “as.” The term imagery is the formation of mental images, figures, or likenesses of things, or of such images collectively. The tone of the poem changes from the beginning to the end. The tone of the poem changes from dark and depressed to confident and hopeful. When Henley states “me unafraid” it has a confident tone to it. This poem can also be considered as hopeful and victorious poem for those suffering, because it constantly reminds that anyone can be “captain of their soul.” This affects the reader’s response to the poem because it expands his/her thinking. A person reading this poem would find it encouraging, because it talks about the overcoming of struggle. It connects to the poem because it portrays a very true situation. Because many times in life one’s takes control of himself, no matter what the case, whether it is good or bad.

William Ernest Henley conveys his message of “unconquerable” through the use of metaphor and imagery throughout the poem. Henley uses plenty of metaphors in his poem. In the beginning of the poem night is compared to suffering. “Out of the nigh that covers me” meaning that his going through difficulties and challenges in life. Second stanza also begins with comparing circumstances to creature with deadly grip (fell clutch) which illustrates that his being trapped and pulled into it. An example of metaphor is in stanza 3; line 2 “looms but the horror of the shade” shade is referred to death and chance of suffering. Lastly Henley uses metaphor when he says “beyond this place of wrath and tears” meaning there is more to life, after the suffering. Henley uses imagery in stanza 2, line 4 “ my head is bloody, but unbowed” which demonstrates that even though he may have been beaten, punished or suffered form physically and mentally he will still be strong and his head will be held up high. Another imagery is appeared in stanza 1, line 2 “ Black as pit from pole to pole” use of simile to describe how dark and dim it was, once upon a time for him. He directly states in stanza 2, line 2 “I have not winced nor cried aloud” this illustrates that even though he has experienced in pain and suffering, he did not express his misery and remained strong.

The tone of the poem “Invictus” changes from the beginning to end. In the beginning the tone of the poem is dark. Towards the end of the poem it starts out sounding more confident, hopeful and victorious. In stanza 1, line 1 “out if the night that covers me” which describes him being depressed, down and unhappy. “Black as pit from pole to pole” means that from distant to distance he only sees black and darkness. It shows confidence in stanza 4, line 1 “it matters not how strait the gate” this describes that he choose his own path and is ready to face challenges. In stanza 3, line 1 “Beyond this place of wrath and tears” refers that Henley has hope for the after-life. The tone is victorious when he says “I am the master of my fate” which captures the idea and belief of choice. This quote shows that Henley knows what his doing, and knows what will happen. When people decide to do things, they have also decided their fate, may it be consequence or reward.

A reader response to this poem would be encouraging. Because it is one’s decision to live in pain or to be brave when facing a challenge. The poem “Invictus” describes courage. In stanza 2, line 4 “My head is bloody, but unbowed” shows the courage to do anything, even fight. Even though Henley starts out the poem by talking about his struggles in life, stanza 1 “Black as pit from pole to pole,” Henley does not continue with that. In stanza 3, line 4 he mentions “Find, and shall find, me unafraid” the speaker shows an attitude of bravery by stating that he is unafraid of anything that comes in his way, even death. After reading this poem a reader would probably have a stronger perspective towards challenges in life. The poem “Invictus” helps the reader to connect to the poem because as humans we all struggle in life. No one is perfect in this world; everyone struggles whether it be consequence of one’s decision or struggle in order to achieve their goal. Everyone has faced struggle at least one point in their lives and they overcome it because it’s the consequence of one’s decision.

So basically, the poem “Invictus” states that fate is not responsible for one’s good or bad consequence. That is true because it depends on one’s decision, which leads him to his consequence and structures his life in a good or bad way. This poem also focuses on struggles and bravery. Everyone is in charge of their own self. They just need to be brave in order to face consequence.

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How the Roman Empire Changed with Constantine

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

In 324 CE the roman empire took a drastic change religiously, with the ascension of Constantine as ruler. Constantine, a military genius created a religious identity within the empire with the use of his political power. This identity established preferential status within the empire that leaned away from the ancient sun gods, toward Christianity. The founding of this status is his assertion of ritual purity to the Christian God, and Constantine s edict of toleration had revolutionary implications for Christians, by freeing exiled, and suffering Christians. This creation of a central basis for religion within the Roman empire, united the empire behind a common integrational focus. This common focus first allowed the empire to be focused on a common accepted religion, and allowed Constantine to focus on his true goals of creating a revolutionized Christian Roman empire with Constantine as the leader, and Constantinople, his city as it s capital. Both the roman empire and Christianity were forever changed by Constantine s rule. The religious implications that span to the Christianity of today. Constantine s own conversion to Christianity helped him with his early military battles, but also helped him establish the political genius of the Roman empire during his reign. Constantine s background before his vision of conversion is very disputed between different biographical authors of history. Many authors believe that both the official Roman policy that exalts Sol Invictus as dominus imperii Romani to be the heavenly lord, and the church of the persecuted Christians to be the religious backgrounds that Constantine drew from. These were the two religions that were in major existence within the Roman empire at this time. The generally excepted roman god of the sun, created pagan branch cults. Apart from his father s house which did not favor the Christian God, Constantine seems to have found something to draw him closer to the oppressed Christians in the hatred that he felt for Diocletian and Galerius, the authors of the persecutions. They had excluded him from the succession to the imperial College of Four and had thus offended his boundless passion for recognition. Constantine s passion for power was spurned on by a hatred for those who opposed his ascension in to power. Early in his military campaigns Constantine took priests on his expeditions, but it was not until he and his men had a direct vision from the Christian God, that Constantine s attitude towards religion burned deep within his soul.

The Roman Empire at this time was divided into four parts with one leader in charge of each part called a Caesar, and one emperor over the entire empire. Diocletian was the emperor, and Caesar of Asia and Egypt, his co-emperor Maximian was Caesar of Italy and Africa, Galerius was Caesar of the Danube frontier, and Constantius was Caesar of Britain and Gaul. Diocletian and the other Caesar s persecuted Christians, and tried to bring an end to the religion. In 305, Deocletian stepped down as emperor, and then a great struggle for power began. Constantine son of Constantius one of the four Caesar s suddenly saw and opportunity for power. It was with this, that Constantine attacked Maximian and the war for power arose. Constantine was convinced that he needed a powerful aid more than his forces could acquire to defeat the wicked and magical enchantments of Maximian. Constantine remembered that the past emperors had lost many battles based on false oracles made by sun god predictions, and so Constantine sought divine assistance from the Christian God of his father. The direct answer is that Constantine and his soldiers claim to have seen a direct revelation from God: above the setting sun the Emperor and his army with him saw the sign of the cross outlined in rays of light, and, with it, the words: in this sign thou shalt conquer. This was directly followed by Jesus Christ visiting Constantine in a dream, with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens and commanded him to make a likeness of that which he had seen in the heavens and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies. It was with these signs from God himself that Constantine made his conversion to Christianity. Constantine s first act after the conversion was to have his soldiers put the emblem that God had given to him on their shields. It is with this vision that Constantine s basis for his changing of the religious aspect of the Roman Empire began. In 324, Constantine defeated his last opponent, and made himself sole emperor of the roman empire. Constantine s rule followed that of Diocletian, except for his supporting of Christianity. One of the largest steps that Constantine took in creating a new roman empire was to create new laws, dealing with jurisdiction of bishops, justice and a moralization of the justice system. This Justice system took a new turn with Constantine granting the Christian church public lands, while condemning black magic. He also took Jewish lands and gave them to Christians, while also forbidding those who had changed religions to Christianity to do so without fear of punishment. Another decree restricted divorce, so that a woman had only certain foundations on which she could divorce her husband. Constantine did not set up a Christian legislation, he thought that, Christianity was concerned with the life of the world to come, and that in this world the prayers of Christians to the true God would bring His blessings upon the empire. The overwhelming impact of his religion upon the legislation, did not arise from drastic laws, causing an entire revolt in religion, but rather were to make the empire safe for Christianity by increasing the number of Christians. Constantine s genius in this helped mesh the roman empire, by not imposing a religion upon a group of people who would not accept it, but rather, allowed for a religion to in time take precedence by allowing it to flourish. Until this point in the roman empire, Christianity was punished and persecuted and forced to be an underground religion. Constantine s decree s allowed for a new religion that was once looked down upon to come into the public, with the fervor that it had before persecution, and thereby storm an empire that encouraged it.

Constantine s next accomplishment for Christianity was his erection of a new roman capital of Constantinople. Not only was Constantinople a military strategic site of brilliance, because it was bordered on three sides by water, it was also a perfect launching site for Christianity into the east and north. Another positive point created by Constantinople, was that it gave the empire a new center with which to base the empire and it s new ideals. Rome is an old city filled with pagan traditions and worship. Constantinople was free from these past traditions ideals, and common place established practices. This meant that once Constantine had set the Church deep in his structure of the empire, there was no longer a place for Christianity in Rome which was allowed to deal with it s pagan worship to the fullest. To finance his new city, Constantine had agents, sweep in from all sides the gold and silver treasures of the old gods and theft of famous statues to finance the rebuilding of the new capital In 325, Constantine went as far as to give Rome a Christian governor. This caused a great fall out between Constantine and the pagans. Part of Constantine s decision though to withdrawal of this Christian governor only as year later, was due to the sentiments of his soldiers who were pagan. So Constantinople became almost a rival city to religiously and stately to Rome. Another accomplishment for Constantine for Christianity and the roman empire is the convening at the council of Nicaea, which had a declared purpose to decide on theological disputes which had arisen during the past 300 years concerning the essence and nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. It was at this point of Constantine s reign that he took a side of Christianity to say that other religions were blasphemy against Jesus Christ as the redeemer. Constantine even went as far as to banish bishops from the council and deemed them as heretics sent here because the flames of discord have been stirred up by their efforts. But these fine bishops, whom once the truth of the synod had preserved for repentance, not only received them and kept them safe in their houses but also shared in their wickedness. Constantine exiled those people in which he deemed as heretics or corrupters of the council and Constantine s Christian cause. Constantine s concept of a bishop and how their beliefs should match his, which created a high decree by Constantine for the exile of those which he saw as directly opposing or not believing in his belief or ideals of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. Those exiled fought for their beliefs and created a political power play in which Constantine was forced to hear out those who he believed to be believers of heresy, and sought to have these bishops convert to the ideal Christianity of Constantine. The ending decision of the council was that a creed of belief in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, both visible and invisible and in on Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Only begotten of the Father, that is to say, of the substance of the Father, God of God and Light of Light, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things are made, both in heaven and on earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down and was made flesh, was made man, suffered and rose again on the third day, went up to the heavens and is to come again to judge both the quick and the dead in the Holy Ghost The emperor s personal beliefs of Christ can be seen a letter he wrote to the bishop Arius, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, God the Word, through whom all things in heaven and on earth were made, who came down and took on flesh and suffered and rose again and ascended into heaven and is coming again to judge the living and the dead, and in the Holy Spirit, and the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come and in the kingdom of heaven. It is with these ideas of Christ, that Constantine sought to change the politics that were involved with a newly resurrected Christian church. Those bishops who were opposed the council s now acceptable beliefs, were now considered heretics, and brought before Constantine and his bishops and were exiled. The use of a common mission statement within the church, allowed Constantine and the empire to enforce these beliefs within all the churches, and to unify the churches behind common beliefs of God and Jesus Christ. This unifying of the church helped to bring about a unifying group of Christians. The downfall however is in Constantine s own involvement within this council, and the worshipers of the sun god in Rome and other cities saw that their emperor directly opposed their religious beliefs, and tried to impose his beliefs upon the churches. There came a point in which the Christian church grew and spread within the empire and in the place of toleration of the other religions, Christians began to suppress paganism. Constantine actually proclaimed Christianity in the new cities, pressed on the population of the cities for the abandonment of the their old cults and actually rewarded them for it. The imperial cult, which was the worship of the emperor and the empire, was suppressed, but allowed within the empire in it s Christian disinfected form. The pagan cults fall can be shown to start in the reign of Constantine, and follow down in the years there after.

The work of devastation of the pagan cults began slowly with it s oppression by Christianity, and it s falling from predominance. The preeminent factor in the fall of the pagan cults arises from Constantine s tearing down of the these temples for the material use in his own temples for Christianity. With a loss of a place to worship, these pagan cults began to fall away like the Jews during the great dispersion. The roman empire also began to encourage Christianity as a whole by greatly supporting it, and making it the focus of the entire empire during the time of Constantine. It is because of Constantine s favor toward Christianity that the Christian church of today is alive. Diocletian and his persecutions nearly brought the end of the Christian existence within the empire with his torture, and persecutions. Constantine s beginning use of tolerance towards the religions that directly opposed his, created a meshing of the two, and allowed pagan worshipers to be converted to an alternate religion of Christianity rather than an opposing religion. This was one of Constantine s strong political moves of originally accepting all religions, rather than create a direct opposition to all that his subjects had known and therefore creating unfaithful subjects, and prevented a possible overthrowing of the emperor. Constantine s overall political efforts toward Christianity allowed Christianity to start as something that the empire did not tolerate, and actually tried to condemn; to an entity that was the focus of the empire, and flourishing with the empire s approval and help. This capitalization allowed a struggling religion to be ingrained into a people who followed and worshipped the emperor. Constantine definitely used his power to promote Christianity by the using of materials from pagan worship centers for his own Christian churches. This standpoint showed the people where Constantine stood religiously, and took away from their cornerstone which was a place of worship. Many people may have been angry towards Constantine, but his transporting of the capital to Constantinople allowed him the freedom to not have a direct uprising by angry religious leaders and followers. This political genius helped Constantine in his political power use in the council of Nicaea to create a central unified Christian standpoint and ideal. By making a common bylaws of thought Constantine united the Christians within the empire under a common identity and belief system, and did not lose his followers to rivals amongst each other.

Constantine s visions in the battlefield have been debated by historians and scholars, but it is obvious that by his actions and use of power that directly opposed some individuals within the empire, that Constantine was forever changed into a belief in Christ by a vision that he saw in the sky. Constantine s use of his political power to take control of such a vast empire is a great

accomplishment which is further enlightened by his use of religious influence. For Christians, Constantine is seen as a person who helped their religion in it s darkest hour, while the pagan cultures at the time saw Constantine as an oppressor of their culture forever. Constantine s conversion created an impact on the roman empire that has implications into today s religions. Bibliography Constantine s Versus Christ Alistair Kee SCM Press Ltd. 58 Bloomsbury Street London 19822. Constantine, a military genius created a religious identity within the empire with the use of his political power. This identity established preferential status within the empire that leaned away from the ancient sun gods, toward Christianity. The founding of this status is his assertion of ritual purity to the Christian God, and Constantine s edict of toleration had revolutionary implications for Christians, by freeing exiled, and suffering Christians. This creation of a central basis for religion within the Roman empire, united the empire behind a common integrational focus. This common focus first allowed the empire to be focused on a common accepted religion, and allowed Constantine to focus on his true goals of creating a revolutionized Christian Roman empire with Constantine as the leader, and Constantinople, his city as it s capital. Both the roman empire and Christianity were forever changed by Constantine s rule. The religious implications that span to the Christianity of today. Constantine s own conversion to Christianity helped him with his early military battles, but also helped him establish the political genius of the Roman empire during his reign. Constantine s background before his vision of conversion is very disputed between different biographical authors of history.

Many authors believe that both the official Roman policy that exalts Sol Invictus as dominus imperii Romani to be the heavenly lord, and the church of the persecuted Christians to be the religious backgrounds that Constantine drew from. These were the two religions that were in major existence within the Roman empire at this time. The generally excepted roman god of the sun, created pagan branch cults. Apart from his father s house which did not favor the Christian God, Constantine seems to have found something to draw him closer to the oppressed Christians in the hatred that he felt for Diocletian and Galerius, the authors of the persecutions. They had excluded him from the succession to the imperial College of Four and had thus offended his boundless passion for recognition. Constantine s passion for power was spurned on by a hatred for those who opposed his ascension in to power. Early in his military campaigns Constantine took priests on his expeditions, but it was not until he and his men had a direct vision from the Christian God, that Constantine s attitude towards religion burned deep within his soul. The Roman Empire at this time was divided into four parts with one leader in charge of each part called a Caesar, and one emperor over the entire empire. Diocletian was the emperor, and Caesar of Asia and Egypt, his co-emperor Maximian was Caesar of Italy and Africa, Galerius was Caesar of the Danube frontier, and Constantius was Caesar of Britain and Gaul. Diocletian and the other Caesar s persecuted Christians, and tried to bring an end to the religion. In 305, Deocletian stepped down as emperor, and then a great struggle for power began. Constantine son of Constantius one of the four Caesar s suddenly saw and opportunity for power. It was with this, that Constantine attacked Maximian and the war for power arose. Constantine was convinced that he needed a powerful aid more than his forces could acquire to defeat the wicked and magical enchantments of Maximian. Constantine remembered that the past emperors had lost many battles based on false oracles made by sun god predictions, and so Constantine sought divine assistance from the Christian God of his father.

The direct answer is that Constantine and his soldiers claim to have seen a direct revelation from God: above the setting sun the Emperor and his army with him saw the sign of the cross outlined in rays of light, and, with it, the words: in this sign thou shalt conquer. This was directly followed by Jesus Christ visiting Constantine in a dream, with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens and commanded him to make a likeness of that which he had seen in the heavens and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies. It was with these signs from God himself that Constantine made his conversion to Christianity. Constantine s first act after the conversion was to have his soldiers put the emblem that God had given to him on their shields. It is with this vision that Constantine s basis for his changing of the religious aspect of the Roman Empire began. In 324, Constantine defeated his last opponent, and made himself sole emperor of the roman empire. Constantine s rule followed that of Diocletian, except for his supporting of Christianity. One of the largest steps that Constantine took in creating a new roman empire was to create new laws, dealing with jurisdiction of bishops, justice and a moralization of the justice system. This Justice system took a new turn with Constantine granting the Christian church public lands, while condemning black magic. He also took Jewish lands and gave them to Christians, while also forbidding those who had changed religions to Christianity to do so without fear of punishment. Another decree restricted divorce, so that a woman had only certain foundations on which she could divorce her husband. Constantine did not set up a Christian legislation, he thought that, Christianity was concerned with the life of the world to come, and that in this world the prayers of Christians to the true God would bring His blessings upon the empire.

The overwhelming impact of his religion upon the legislation, did not arise from drastic laws, causing an entire revolt in religion, but rather were to make the empire safe for Christianity by increasing the number of Christians. Constantine s genius in this helped mesh the roman empire, by not imposing a religion upon a group of people who would not accept it, but rather, allowed for a religion to in time take precedence by allowing it to flourish. Until this point in the roman empire, Christianity was punished and persecuted and forced to be an underground religion. Constantine s decree s allowed for a new religion that was once looked down upon to come into the public, with the fervor that it had before persecution, and thereby storm an empire that encouraged it. Constantine s next accomplishment for Christianity was his erection of a new roman capital of Constantinople. Not only was Constantinople a military strategic site of brilliance, because it was bordered on three sides by water, it was also a perfect launching site for Christianity into the east and north. Another positive point created by Constantinople, was that it gave the empire a new center with which to base the empire and it s new ideals. Rome is an old city filled with pagan traditions and worship. Constantinople was free from these past traditions ideals, and common place established practices. This meant that once Constantine had set the Church deep in his structure of the empire, there was no longer a place for Christianity in Rome which was allowed to deal with it s pagan worship to the fullest. To finance his new city, Constantine had agents, sweep in from all sides the gold and silver treasures of the old gods and theft of famous statues to finance the rebuilding of the new capital In 325, Constantine went as far as to give Rome a Christian governor. This caused a great fall out between Constantine and the pagans. Part of Constantine s decision though to withdrawal of this Christian governor only as year later, was due to the sentiments of his soldiers who were pagan. So Constantinople became almost a rival city to religiously and stately to Rome. Another accomplishment for Constantine for Christianity and the roman empire is the convening at the council of Nicaea, which had a declared purpose to decide on theological disputes which had arisen during the past 300 years concerning the essence and nature of Christ and the Holy Spirit. It was at this point of Constantine s reign that he took a side of Christianity to say that other religions were blasphemy against Jesus Christ as the redeemer. Constantine even went as far as to banish bishops from the council and deemed them as heretics sent here because the flames of discord have been stirred up by their efforts. But these fine bishops, whom once the truth of the synod had preserved for repentance, not only received them and kept them safe in their houses but also shared in their wickedness. Constantine exiled those people in which he deemed as heretics or corrupters of the council and Constantine s Christian cause. Constantine s concept of a bishop and how their beliefs should match his, which created a high decree by Constantine for the exile of those which he saw as directly opposing or not believing in his belief or ideals of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. Those exiled fought for their beliefs and created a political power play in which Constantine was forced to hear out those who he believed to be believers of heresy, and sought to have these bishops convert to the ideal Christianity of Constantine. The ending decision of the council was that a creed of belief in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things, both visible and invisible and in on Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Only begotten of the Father, that is to say, of the substance of the Father, God of God and Light of Light, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things are made, both in heaven and on earth, who for us men and for our salvation, came down and was made flesh, was made man, suffered and rose again on the third day, went up to the heavens and is to come again to judge both the quick and the dead in the Holy Ghost The emperor s personal beliefs of Christ can be seen a letter he wrote to the bishop Arius, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages, God the Word, through whom all things in heaven and on earth were made, who came down and took on flesh and suffered and rose again and ascended into heaven and is coming again to judge the living and the dead, and in the Holy Spirit, and the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come and in the kingdom of heaven. It is with these ideas of Christ, that Constantine sought to change the politics that were involved with a newly resurrected Christian church. Those bishops who were opposed the council s now acceptable beliefs, were now considered heretics, and brought before Constantine and his bishops and were exiled. The use of a common mission statement within the church, allowed Constantine and the empire to enforce these beliefs within all the churches, and to unify the churches behind common beliefs of God and Jesus Christ. This unifying of the church helped to bring about a unifying group of Christians. The downfall however is in Constantine s own involvement within this council, and the worshipers of the sun god in Rome and other cities saw that their emperor directly opposed their religious beliefs, and tried to impose his beliefs upon the churches. There came a point in which the Christian church grew and spread within the empire and in the place of toleration of the other religions, Christians began to suppress paganism. Constantine actually proclaimed Christianity in the new cities, pressed on the population of the cities for the abandonment of the their old cults and actually rewarded them for it. The imperial cult, which was the worship of the emperor and the empire, was suppressed, but allowed within the empire in it s Christian disinfected form. The pagan cults fall can be shown to start in the reign of Constantine, and follow down in the years there after.

The work of devastation of the pagan cults began slowly with it s oppression by Christianity, and it s falling from predominance. The preeminent factor in the fall of the pagan cults arises from Constantine s tearing down of the these temples for the material use in his own temples for Christianity. With a loss of a place to worship, these pagan cults began to fall away like the Jews during the great dispersion. The roman empire also began to encourage Christianity as a whole by greatly supporting it, and making it the focus of the entire empire during the time of Constantine. It is because of Constantine s favor toward Christianity that the Christian church of today is alive. Diocletian and his persecutions nearly brought the end of the Christian existence within the empire with his torture, and persecutions. Constantine s beginning use of tolerance towards the religions that directly opposed his, created a meshing of the two, and allowed pagan worshipers to be converted to an alternate religion of Christianity rather than an opposing religion. This was one of Constantine s strong political moves of originally accepting all religions, rather than create a direct opposition to all that his subjects had known and therefore creating unfaithful subjects, and prevented a possible overthrowing of the emperor. Constantine s overall political efforts toward Christianity allowed Christianity to start as something that the empire did not tolerate, and actually tried to condemn; to an entity that was the focus of the empire, and flourishing with the empire s approval and help. This capitalization allowed a struggling religion to be ingrained into a people who followed and worshipped the emperor. Constantine definitely used his power to promote Christianity by the using of materials from pagan worship centers for his own Christian churches. This standpoint showed the people where Constantine stood religiously, and took away from their cornerstone which was a place of worship. Many people may have been angry towards Constantine, but his transporting of the capital to Constantinople allowed him the freedom to not have a direct uprising by angry religious leaders and followers. This political genius helped Constantine in his political power use in the council of Nicaea to create a central unified Christian standpoint and ideal. By making a common bylaws of thought Constantine united the Christians within the empire under a common identity and belief system, and did not lose his followers to rivals amongst each other. Constantine s visions in the battlefield have been debated by historians and scholars, but it is obvious that by his actions and use of power that directly opposed some individuals within the empire, that Constantine was forever changed into a belief in Christ by a vision that he saw in the sky. Constantine s use of his political power to take control of such a vast empire is a great accomplishment which is further enlightened by his use of religious influence. For Christians, Constantine is seen as a person who helped their religion in it s darkest hour, while the pagan cultures at the time saw Constantine as an oppressor of their culture forever. Constantine s conversion created an impact on the roman empire that has implications into today s religions. Bibliography

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“Let me lead you now”: The Challenges and Triumphs of Leadership in ‘Ransom’ and ‘Invictus’

May 17, 2019 by Essay Writer

Clint Eastwood’s Invictus and David Malouf’s Ransom both emphasise the necessity of strong leadership, especially as the societies depicted in both texts are on edge: Troy nearing its inevitable destruction, whereas South Africa is struggling past its dubious beginnings. The two texts discover the hardships of leading by exemplifying the characteristic in four major leaders. Eastwood and Malouf depict two primary leaders, Mandela and Priam, that have inherited a volatile administration, as aforementioned; the two secondary leaders, François and Achilles, symbolise a different volatility – one that is embodied by stagnation and a persistent conservatism that yielded no results. Both authors ingrain an appeal to nature, one’s own volition and humanism in their two characters – in Priam, this is a learnt trait; in Mandela, this is an inherent virtue. The prominence of leadership within both works of literature is testified by the ultimate victory achieved by the four leaders.

The state of South Africa, once Mandela managed power, was one of severe division and polarisation. The atmosphere had retained the stench of apartheid and racial segregation – the opening shot was cleverly utilised by Eastwood to symbolise this disunity through the juxtaposition of wealthy Afrikaners playing rugby on a well-manicured field, to the poor Africans playing soccer on a barren one. In the following scene, Mandela notices the tensions between his White and Black staff; with some Afrikaners already packing their belongings in the many cardboard boxes spread across the rooms ready to leave, due to a false sense of foreboding imbued in them regarding the new administration. Mandela immediately calls for an ad hoc meeting to deliver an impromptu speech where he asserts ‘the past is the past’ alleviating the fears most of the whites had clenched onto. Priam, however, doesn’t need to consolidate power; rather, he needs to preserve his kingdom that’s been ‘ravaged and threatened with extinction’. After having sent his fearsome son and fighter, Hector, to the battlefield and losing him to Achilles – his entire court is paralysed in their mourning, as most were either friends or relatives of the deceased, but Priam was innately paralysed as he belonged to the ‘royal sphere’ and therefore had a ‘royal image’ to maintain. The traditionalism of the imperials of Troy rendered the King as a mere figurehead and all nobles as placeholders, actors for a play larger than themselves – an enjoyment for the Gods. Priam’s unstable monarchy came because of his court’s grief and consequently, their inaction, whereas Mandela’s battle was against the inherent hatred and prejudice of the people involved – however, a similar leadership quality is observed – Priam also calls an ad hoc meeting to retrieve his son’s body and relax the court’s sorrow.

Ransom and Invictus also provide the perspective of other leaders, Achilles and François; these two leaders demonstrate different sets of trials and tribulations, as well as victories, in their leadership. Achilles is the exact opposite of his counterpart, Priam, he and his Myrmidons embody an ‘animal spirit’ that has them unruly, brutish and almost feral-like – but Achilles pushes it further and embraces an oculist’s ‘darkness’. This transcendent being pulls Achilles into pits of depravity, driving him to torture and maim a lifeless body; Achilles, to alleviate his guilt-ridden conscience, asserts it’s his grief for his lost brother Patroclus that Hector’s body must be tarnished and degraded. François mirrors some of the qualities of Achilles – being the captain of the failing Springboks, he’s developed a sorrow for his inability to lead; which is also reminiscent of Achilles failure to guard his brother against an untimely death. François’s uphill battle, however, isn’t with one specific opponent; rather with many – and so he toasts to defeat, drinking a bitter beer; to remind his men of its harshness and disincentivising ever tasting it again. And to worsen the situation of the Springboks, calls for the removal of François as he ‘does not deserve to be in gold and green’ are broadcast nationally – François realises his powerlessness, and finds himself in a depth akin to Achilles’s.

These leaders both persevere despite the stacking of odds against them and their deteriorating situations – a triumph in of itself – and therefore become keen on wanting change, ‘something new’ in Achilles case and a ‘need [for] inspiration’ in François’s. This creates an open-mindedness in both characters, Achilles is seen ‘breaking bread’ and feasting with Priam – his mortal enemy – whereas François is invited by Mandela for tea and the promise of victory in the upcoming World Cup. Both meetings end well – Achilles signs a twelve-day armistice in respect of Priam, and the Springboks won their rugby matches as well as the love 42 million of South Africans. This sudden change of heart isn’t suddenly embedded in Priam and Mandela, rather, they develop their inspirational je ne sais quoi through a force that transcends themselves. In Ransom, Priam is inspired by the Goddess Iris that introduces to him the notion of chance; something he’d previously considered blasphemous. This paves the course for Priam that leads to his forgiveness of Achilles, retrieval of his son’s lost body and the aforementioned bread-breaking with his arch-enemy. Mandela similarly derives inspiration in the direst of his times; a poem he read while in solitary confinement helped him maintain his grit and fortified his mental fortitude. After having survived his own trials, Mandela echoes the very same things in his meeting with François as Iris had said to Priam.

In both narratives inspiration acts as a driving force to allow one to ‘exceed [their] own expectations’; in Ransom, Priam realises a window from wherein he can defeat the persisting stagnation that has plagued Troy and its Imperials; in Invictus, it strengthens Mandela to endure ’30 years in a tiny cell, and come out ready to forgive the people who put him [there]’. The divine inspiration in Ransom tears down all the forms of conservativism that afflicted the ‘royal sphere’; Priam’s journey with Somax following the visions he’d received reconnected him with all the intricacies and minutiae of daily life – he reflects on Somax’s life and deems it more vibrant and vivid than his, despite the marginal difference between their social standing. Priam then appraises the experiences of his life – he had no connection to his children, not able to even recount how many he’s had – and rationalises it’s because of his ‘fixed nature’. Mandela, however, had always espoused this leadership quality; being gregarious and eloquent provided him greatly in social endeavours – François recalls that ‘[Mandela] is unlike anyone [he has] ever seen’ – this affableness had him shoulder the burden of forty-two million South Africans and Afrikaners.

Ultimately, the two stories end on an optimistic note; a bright sun rises on Troy and a cheering crowd chants the Springboks victory. The consequence of the four leaders is greatly felt in the two texts – each of whom faces considerable challenges that required unprecedented solutions. These characters didn’t bring about the solutions completely alone; they relied heavily on the people surrounding them – a demonstration of their willingness to espouse new ideas and recreate their world-view after considering new developments. While the narrative does predict a grim future for Troy, Priam and Achilles; its comment on the strength of leadership is a demonstrably positive one.

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The power of storytelling in Ransom and Invictus

March 31, 2019 by Essay Writer

David Malouf’s Ransom and Clint Eastwood’s Invictus signify the powerful force of storytelling through the portrayal of their characters. In his adaptation of Homer’s Illiad, Malouf and Eastwood concede that stories can be manipulated, alluding to their reformed retelling of true events. Furthermore, both authors champion the compelling force of storytelling in reconciling polarised individuals. However, where Eastwood portrays a linear progression of events, the contrasting storytelling technique in Ransom, alludes to broader beliefs about chance and fate. Predicated upon the crises of the past, Eastwood and Malouf highlight that stories can be distorted by the storyteller. Through the lens of Post-Apartheid South Africa, Eastwood adopts a utopic portrayal of Mandela and Pienaar, while Malouf depicts a more cynical perspective of human disposition in the midst of the Trojan war.

In Invictus, Eastwood maintains an idyllic vision of the human desire to unify polarised individuals, and thus quells the innate tendency to gain reprisal. The character of Pienaar functions as a vehicle to Mandela’s visionary policies which epitomise his sentiment that ‘revenge is futile,’ while the inability to ‘forgive’ only reinforces the ‘cycle of fear’ which plagues post-Apartheid South Africa. To heighten this notion, Eastwood has primarily emphasised upon the positive aspects of their characters and their propitious influence on society. This is corroborated in the fact that Eastwood has not extensively explored any negative traits of either character in detail, although he has portrayed them as human, acknowledging Pienaar’s upbringing in a racist white household and Mandela’s complications with his family. These obscure, subtle suggestions are cautiously illustrated when Mandela exclaims that akin to his father he also wishes to engage in ‘polygamy,’ while Pienaar’s father’s response to Mandela’s presidency is ‘I never thought I’d see the day.’ However, through the use of an omniscient narrator, Eastwood purports the impression that the narration is objective, while consciously mitigating their weaker attributes. This is foregrounded in the predominant employment of tilt-up shots in the portrayal of Mandela, which endorses the notion that he is a superior, magnanimous luminary in the ‘New south Africa.’ In addition, Pienaar is similarly primarily shot in a close-up angle, which conveys his idle, impersonal character. Thus, the audience cultivates the perception that he is merely a victim of circumstance, which, in essence, is a drastic over-simplification of the role white minorities played in the South African community. Therefore, Eastwood highlights that characters can be manipulated through direction and camera techniques.

Similarly, as Eastwood manipulates the portrayal of characters through his amenable direction, Malouf accentuates the flaws of seemingly immaculate individuals. Evidently, Malouf establishes a new meaning to the Illiad for modern readers, and ‘like most storytellers, [is a] stealer of other men’s tales,’ thus suggesting that although stories can be conveyed, sometimes its meaning can be lost or modified. It is inferred that Malouf himself is alluding to the fact that he has, in a sense, stolen Homer’s identity in retelling the Iliad because he discarded the focus on the grandeur of a typical warrior’s adventure, while honing in on the tumultuous psyche in a ‘hero’s’ world. This drastically contradicts the gallant connotations typically associated with this title. Ultimately, he presents a more incredulous perspective of human character. For instance, Achilles deviates from the virtuous and forgiving character of Mandela, and instead indulges in archaic acts of vengeance, which sees his volatile grief inhibit his capacity to enact forgiveness. Following Hector’s heretical slaughtering of Patroclus, Achilles ‘mauls’ Hector’s body ‘stripped from tendon to tendon.’ Personifying Malouf’s interpretation of the human instinct to seek revenge, Achilles embodies the archetype, villainous disposition, which drastically contrasts the image of an exalted ‘warrior.’ Thus, although Achilles is trapped within a paradigm of insatiable retribution, Eastwood’s Mandela and Pienaar endorse a nation who take ‘their knives and guns and throw them into the sea.’ Furthermore, the artificial nature of the short-lived truce between Achilles and Priam distinguishes itself from the reconciliation achieved between the black and white South Africans which is of genuine national unity. Hence, through storytelling, Eastwood adheres to a vision of progress that overcomes the need for revenge, where Malouf highlights the limitations to human reconciliation.

The power of storytelling is highlighted in its ability to unite characters. This is exemplified through Somax’s narration to Priam, which enables him to venture out into the world of ‘fatherhood.’ Through the illustration of Somax, Malouf stresses upon the significance of the ‘ordinary man’ in a hero’s world; a concept that is markedly excluded from Homer’s Illiad. Both characters resonate on their past experiences, as their identities have been unwillingly distorted. This is corroborated as Priam portrays his kingship as an ‘awful responsibility’ while Somax receives his novel identity as Idaeus with a ‘silent, sullen affront.’ However, they soon establish an affinity on the grounds of their fatherhood, as Somax’s stories about his own familial relationships emancipates Priam from his constraining role as ‘the living map’ of Troy, and impels retrospection on his adequacy ‘as a father.’ This is illustrated when sharing the story of his son’s death, Somax sniffles, an ‘odd habit’ according to Priam. The use of ‘odd habit’ to describe Somax’s sadness demonstrates how Priam has never truly grieved the loss of his sons, but only the loss of a noble relationship between king and prince. Later on, Somax once again ‘sniffles’ and ‘rubs his nose’ at the thought of the ending to their journey. Similarly, Priam makes ‘small sounds’, ostensibly crying as well. The transformation of Priam from someone who failed to empathize with Somax’s tears at the beginning of the journey to a man filled with emotions demonstrates that Priam undergoes both a physical and emotional journey where he undergoes self-development and appreciation of the world around him, symbolically epitomized in his act of ‘ransom.’ Furthermore, Priam’s anecdotes act as a powerful persuasion to Hecuba which ameliorates her apprehension of the notion of ‘freewill,’ that is believed to be iconoclastic. This is portrayed when Priam relates his story of being ‘ransomed’ to highlight the volatility of his role as the ‘ceremonial figurehead.’ This transformation from an ‘indistinguishable’ man to a ‘lord of pleasures’ is a testament to the imperative role chance plays in one’s life. Thus, Priam is empowered to engage in a similar course of action to likewise ‘ransom and restore’ Hector’s body.

Consequently, as Priam’s narration of his life is a living proof of the oscillating nature of chance, Hecuba is inclined to be more accepting of a concept that she otherwise believed to be ‘blasphemous’ due to the powerful evocations of storytelling. Likewise, akin to Somax’s effect on Priam, Mandela’s psychological turmoil in incarceration is echoed through the Invictus poem, and hence, also inspires Pienaar to defy his pre-ordained fate. Mandela experienced symbolic confines due to the racial discord that renders the black natives powerless, while also being physically imprisoned which prevented him from taking action against the subjugation. However, he still pervaded unprecedented progress in South Africa. Upon hearing of his flawed past, Pienaar is similarly empowered to rise beyond his defeat, and defy the odds that the Springboks face. This is typified in the close-up shot of Pienaar who envisions Nelson Mandela in prison doing things like sitting at his bed and outside breaking rocks. Here, Pienaar is seen grasping the metal bars that isolate him and Mandela, with an eye-level shot that evokes an intimate connection with the audience. However, once the team are outside Francois again has a vision of Nelson smashing up a boulder as part of his punishment, this time though, Nelson makes eye contact with him. This is symbolic of the dissolution of the virtual barriers that divide them, and suggests that Pienaar finally accedes to the alliance with Mandela on the ‘road to reconciliation.’ This scene is accompanied by a voice-over of Henley’s poem ‘Invictus’ and the non-diegetic sound track ‘9000 days’ in order to magnify this turning point in the film.

Additionally, the lasting impact of this scene is augmented at the pinnacle of the final game, when Pienaar finds solace and strength in the phrase, ‘I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.’ As alluded to in Henley’s poem, Pienaar realizes the importance of ‘mastering’ his ‘fate’ in the face of adversity. Evidently, through storytelling, the protagonists form connections, and are inspired to pursue development. Moreover, Eastwood portrays a linear narration of events, while Malouf opts for a non-sequential format of storytelling, which is broadly indicative of their nuanced beliefs on chance and destiny. Invictus has a definite ending because the final events give the audience closure that the pursuit has been accomplished – South Africa have won the World Cup and Nelson Mandela has united the Republic of South Africa. This sequential succession of events has been tactfully employed by Eastwood to enable the audience to fully comprehend the fruition of Mandela’s ambitions in all its ‘splendour.’ This is illustrated in the juxtaposition of the first and final scene. The initial scene portrays a stark contrast between the Afrikaners and the black natives, with the mise-en-scene alluding to the inequality between both sectors to the extent that the natives refuse to play rugby as it ‘still represents apartheid.’ However, these divides then dissipate in the final scene. Here, the bird’s eye camera angle portrays unity as the audience are seen waving the new flag, as well as, demonstrates equality by positioning everyone on the same standing. This is further augmented by the little boy, Sipho, and the Afrikaner cops who dance together in celebration following the defeat, which distinguishes from their earlier, separated stance, dissolving all barriers that divide them. Therefore, the sequential progression of events their sole reliance on the present in influencing the future, while the past is just a source of grievance. Conversely, Ransom resolves on a less conclusive note, and there are constant references to the past and future scenes in the present. This is representative of their constraining belief that allows their past and future dictate their present lives, whereas, Invictus is solely is concerned with capitulating oneself from the confines of the past.

This is corroborated in Priam’s ostensible defiance of the Trojan belief of destiny, yet he still submits to every aspect of Iris’ divinations to the extent that the ‘carter’ must resemble ‘so completely the figure in [his] dream.’ This is further exemplified when Priam negotiates with Achilles, which provokes a vision that depicts his son Neoptolemus killing Priam in retribution for Achilles’s own death in the future. It is this vision that enables Achilles to accept Priam’s pleadings so readily. Thus, the fleeting power of Gods’ over their destinies requires the two characters to metaphorically cease the inevitable progression of fate, as reflected in the truce between the Greeks and the Trojans to mourn for the dead before the ultimate destiny is fulfilled. Consequently, Malouf is essentially implying that fate and free will are not mutually inclusive, and while the opportunity for freewill exists, ultimately, destiny will always prevail. Thus, it is inferred that Priam and Achilles supposed momentary rebellion against destiny is essentially obsolete and disingenuous, while the national unity achieved in Invictus has arguably stipulated palpable, persisting reconciliation. Consequently, the mere storytelling technique of either text is a broader representation of their beliefs on chance and fate.

In conclusion, in Ransom and Invictus, storytelling plays an extensive role in the way their texts are portrayed. This is evident in the characters who establish an emotional connection with each other and unite on the grounds of common experience. Furthermore, Malouf and Eastwood have contrasting techniques of storytelling, which result in different interpretations to their literary allusions.

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