Meaning of the Poem ‘Invictus’ by William Ernest Henley 'Invictus', a poem said to have inspired great men, is a highly motivational piece of poetry that will surely boost your morale. The third stanza of ‘Invictus’ takes a darker turn, for the speaker refers to an afterlife that is filled with horror. Invictus is a poem which focuses on the human spirit and its ability to overcome adversity. It is a poem emphasizing the significance of free will and rationalism. Moreover, the mood changes as the poem approach the end. Whereas the tone of the first stanza is ironic and firm. Jamie joined the Poem Analysis team back in November, 2010. This famous inspirational poem charges us to accept responsibility for our lives no matter our circumstances. The night then becomes a symbol of hopelessness, a depressive medium in which the soul is lost. The speaker is coming out of a period of total darkness, a hell. From the age of 12, Henley suffered from tuberculosis of the bone. William Ernest Henley was born on 23 August 1849 in Gloucester. The out-worldly agents have no control over one’s mind or soul. The future cannot be seen. The poem was first published in 1888—without a title—in Henley’s first volume of poetry. Invictus, meaning "unconquerable" or "undefeated" in Latin, is a poem by William Ernest Henley. He again tells his reader that he does not fear anything. As an example, the first feet of the first and second lines of the poem are trochaic. See, Wi… William Ernest Henley (1849-1903), an English Poet, had one of his legs amputated at the age of 17. In some respect, the tone also projects a sense of insecurity, but the courage of the speaker dominates it. By Dr Oliver Tearle ‘Invictus’ is a famous poem, even to those who haven’t heard of it. Den Titel Invictus (deutsch Unbezwungen) gab dem Gedicht Arthur Quiller-Couch 1901, als er es in das von ihm herausgegebene The Oxford Book of English Verse aufnahm. It does not matter to him how narrow the gate to heaven is. The second stanza is a continuation of the first. The last stanza contains an allusion to a phrase present in Matthew 7:14. The leg was amputated, and doctors thought they would have to do the same to the other leg, as well, but Henley persuaded another doctor to try a new treatment that was able to prevent amputation. It deals with the belief that man is the center of the universe. (Source: Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction by Elleke Boehmer, Tom Lodge). More importantly, the poem's message is universal in its appeal. Invictus, meaning "unconquerable" or "undefeated" in Latin, is a poem by William Ernest Henley. In these two lines, the poet also creates a metaphor, as the night to which the speaker refers can represent any quandary in which the speaker finds himself. It was written in 1875 and published in 1888 in his first volume of poems, Book of Verses, in the section Life and Death (Echoes). The mood of the poem is dark and gloomy. He was an English poet, writer, critic, and editor in the late Victorian period. He says, “Out of the night that covers me,/Black as the Pit from pole to pole.” Henley’s use of imagery is strong from the very first line of the poem. However, there are a few variations in the poem. 'Invictus', a poem said to have inspired great men, is a highly motivational piece of poetry that will surely boost your morale. Henley was very sick as a young boy, which later resulted in him contracting an infection that spread to his leg. Invictus in Latin means unconquered. Thank you! Der Dichter Thomas Edward Brown, Rektor seiner Schule in Gloucester, begeisterte ihn für Literatur. In the following two stanzas, the speaker’s tone becomes firmer. In this case, William Ernest Henley had tuberculosis of the bone when he was just 25 years old. The second line reinforces the first - the black pit suggesting that this was a deep depression, a spiritual darkness covering the whole world, the world being that of the speaker. While he was recovering, he wrote the verses that became the poem ‘Invictus’. In the early 1870s, he faced a similar problem with his other leg. Thereafter the poet throws light on the theme of fate vs free will. They became friends and corresponded on a regular basis. What is the speaker suggesting when the words It matters not how are placed in front of strait the gate? The rising rhythm of the poem sets an optimistic mood in the poem. The 'Horror of the shade' could be some hellish place of dark where depression lies, a menacing thought. The speaker implies that their unconquerable soul is a gift from a godly realm. Hence the poem is written in iambic tetrameter. The nautical imagery once again returns in this stanza, with the speaker referring to himself as a captain, but also commenting that it does not matter how narrow the path is to the gates of the afterlife, he will make it with no problems. Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest and greatest poetry updates. He does admit, however, in the next two lines that he has not emerged unscathed. The word symbol derives from the Greek word “symbolon” meaning token or watchword. One reason Henley may have chosen to capitalize “Pit” is to refer to Hell, which is considered to be the bleakest and blackest of places. In the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley the writer has given us a glimpse of the theme in the title itself. The login page will open in a new tab. The imagery is strong. The power of rejuvenation helped his mind be fresh again after getting defeated by fate. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, Invictus is a Latin adjective used to describe something or someone that is “unconquerable, unsubdued, or invincible.” The word combines the prefix in, meaning not, and victus, from the word vincere, meaning “to conquer or overcome.” Looking at W.E. Invictus Poem by William Ernest Henley.Out of the night that covers me, Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be He managed to save his right leg by refusing surgery and seeking an alternative form of treatment from a Scottish doctor, James Lister. Meaning of the Poem: Invictus is a short Victorian poem by the English poet William Ernest Henley (1849–1903). This is the gate that leads to the heavenly life. He wrote the poem without a title. It is not only about God, but the mindset that makes one surrender while faced with challenges. Again, the reader is advised that there will be no capitulation, no giving in. It was first published in 1888—without a title—in Henley’s first volume of poetry. Lines three and four are pure iambic tetrameter: Black as / the pit / from pole / to pole. In 1902, Henley fell from a railway carriage that caused his latent tuberculosis to flare up. The message of self-mastery in this poem touched Mandela deeply. The ailment resulted in the amputation of his left leg below the knee in 1868-69. Henley writes, “Under the bludgeonings of chance/ My head is bloody, but unbowed.” While he may have physical scars, he has never bowed his head in defeat; instead, he has kept it held high. It means a great deal to me, and I encourage you to enjoy it as well… INVICTUS. There is strong assonance - use of repeated vowels: Under the bludgeonings of chance/My head is bloody but unbowed. The word “victus” has come from the past participle of “vincere” meaning “to conquer, overcome.” Collectively the word “Invictus” means one who cannot be conquered, meaning unconquerable. The poem is consist of 4 stanzas with 4 lines each, which makes 16 lines in total. We are the master of our destiny. This poem depicts the poet’s attempt to motivate himself when there is no hope at all. The expression of the speaker creates a serious yet uplifting mood inside the text. Although the poem doesn't explicitly mention christianity, there is a sense that this opening line is rooted in religiousness. Henley’s life, it becomes apparent that the poem Invictusarose from the poet’s own experiences. The message is underlined - the speaker has a clear intention, to survive against all the odds. Henley writes, “In the fell clutch of circumstance/ I have not winced nor cried aloud.” In other words, the speaker has not allowed himself to become a victim of the events that have transpired in his life. Apart from that, the theme of homocentrism is another important aspect of the poem. However, despite the speaker’s almost absolute darkness ahead, he remains in good spirits, hopeful, and positive. Invictus " is a very short Victorian poem written by William Ernest Henley. Lastly, Henley wrote this poem to express his disbelief in conventional notions regarding God or fate. Invictus (unbezwungen) Aus finstrer Nacht, die mich umragt, durch Dunkelheit mein‘ Geist ich quäl. ‘Invictus’ is a Latin adjective meaning, “unconquered, unsubdued, invincible.” It is a combination of two Latin words, “in” meaning “not, opposite of” and “victus”. It is quite easy for the reader to picture a complete night. "Invictus" was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875, while he underwent medical treatment for tuberculosis of the bone. 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