"Invictus" by William Ernest Henley: what it means

Essay by gvillarrealHigh School, 12th gradeA+, September 2006

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Invictus is a Latin word meaning unconquerable. The word Invictus also contains victory in it. One can infer from the title that this piece of literature is about taking responsibility and control over your own destiny, or over ones self.

The first stanza, the author asserts what he is surrounded by, "Out of the night that covers me". The author claims his environment to be a negative and dark place. "I thank whatever gods may be for my unconquerable soul", he implies the grateful he is for the gods giving him the strength to never give in to the hostile place he presides. Stanza number two assures that he will not give up. "In the fell clutch of circumstances I have not winced or cried aloud", in the eye of the storm, in the heat of the moment, he has not shown any weakness. "Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed", when in the hardest part of the problem he struggles but never gives up.

The third stanza declares that one has to stand strong. "Beyond this place of wrath and tears looms but the horror of the shade", after the horrible times that have gone by, there is still more to come. "And yet the menace of the years finds, and shall find me, unafraid", he is strong and shall remain strong as time goes by. Fourth stanza states that a person is under control of his or her own fate. "It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll", the consequences have no importance in this situation. "I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul", a person has total control of their own destiny.

One can assume that the author is writing about a...