The Unconquerable Soul
By Drew Johnson
William Ernest Henley proved to all readers that the speaker had an unconquerable soul in the poem “Invictus”. From the very start of the poem he uses different literary elements to show that he cannot be taken over by any outside force. The speaker is beaten down by chance and life circumstances. But this does not consume him.
Henley uses strong and influential imagery. For example, “In the fell clutch of circumstance” this depicts his circumstances as an evil grip. He also shows that the speaker has been physically beaten. “Under the bludgeonings of chance” shows the readers just exactly what chance does to him. He relates chance to severe and ruthless beatings. This shows how bad and horrible the speaker’s chance is.
Vivid language in this poem shows how Henley made the speaker prevail. “I have winced nor cried aloud” shows how the speaker is emotionally tough. He does not take full credit of his unconquerable soul. “I thank whatever gods may be/ For my unconquerable soul.” This suggests that he was given a gift, and it allows him to endure the pains of his life.
Henley uses more imagery to show how he has not been broken by the horrible circumstances he faces and how he cannot be conquered. “My head is bloody, but unbowed” this shows that though he may be physically hurt, he is emotionally stable and strong. The poem ends with the motivational lines “I am the master of my fate;/ I am the captain of my soul” This line proves to the readers that he cannot be taken over.
The author uses different strong literary elements to prove that the speaker cannot be conquered by any outside force. Throughout the poem, he describes how he has been beaten down by chance, fate, and his bad luck. Henley also shows how he as survived all that has happened to him and he remains unbreakable.