Invictus and the Concept of Fate Belief and Free Will
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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