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An Analysis of William Ernest Henley's Invictus

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Phillip Zhou

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of An Analysis of William Ernest Henley's Invictus

Poetry of Western Europe: William Ernest Henley's Invictus Poem Analysis Born In Gloucester, England Adolescence Adulthood Declining Years Key Events at the Margate Royal and Sea Bathing Infirmary: Saving of Henley's right leg
"In Hospital" collection of poetry written
Anna Boyle meets Henley Impact of the Poet's Background Medical history and struggle
Familiarity with death
Poet descendant (mother and Joseph Warton)
Several years devoted to literature (Hospital) Literary Background Aloofness toward human existence
More literature from higher quality of life
Highly romanticized writing styles
Unpredictable vs. Indisputable
Reform from the abstract to the concrete Medicinal Background Little training, undisciplined, illiterate
Apprenticeship rather than schools
Non-exclusive doctors, usually a barber
No germ theory-surgery was often fatal
Antiquity based practices weakened patients The effects of the Victorian Era Henley's realism in contrast to romanticized works
Focus on Concrete works on a single topic
Unpredictability of life vs. certainty of death
high mortality creates a grim outlook
Focus on Antiquity in Henley's work 1849 1861 1865 Diagnosed with Tubercular Arthritis Left Leg amputated from the knee down 1867 Discharged from Grammar School 1869 Moves to England for work at the Scots Observer 1872 Succumbs to severe illness and hospitalized 1875 Return to National Observer (Scots Observer) 1878 Henley Marries Anna Boyle 1888 Anna gives birth to Margaret 1893 Margaret dies from Cerebral Meningitis 1895 Retirement from National Observer 1902 Railway Carriage incident Henley dies at age 53 The life of William Ernest Henley At height, ruled a quarter of the world’s population
“the empire on which the sun never sets”
Many intellectuals saw it as their duty to speak out against the new and frightening world General Overview The Victorian Era - A Time of Change Conclusion Immense literary change in Henley's writing styles
Theme reflective of both Victorian Era thinking and personal life
Although old, still relevant in modern times
Title/Theme

Title is very clear (unconquerable)
Perseverance through hard times Title
Invictus, Latin for “unconquered”

1.Persistence
2.Fighting for one’s beliefs
3.Achieving freedom Paraphrase
He comes out of the night, which is jet-black
He will not give up even though luck is against him. He will not surrender
In the face of death, he is unafraid
The gates of death are looming, but he controls his own destiny. He controls his soul. Connotation & Denotation

-Night-
Period of darkness between sunset and sunrise
Lost, restricting nature
-Pit-
Naturally formed or excavated hole or cavity in the ground
Holding captive, trapping
-Bludgeonings-
Beating by a short heavy club
Punishment or torment, misfortune
-Menace-
Threatening, causing evil, harm, injury, etc
Pain and sorrow, looming
-Clutch-
To seize with one’s hands
Being forcefully held, captured
-Strait-
Narrow passage of water connecting two bodies of water
Constricted, clear path without deviation
-Unbowed-
Not yielding or submitting
Persistent, persevering, fighting for what is right Symbol
-Pit-
Bottomless pit of Tartarus which lies in the underworld, Hell
-Shade-
entity of the underworld, evil beings of malign intent
-Scroll-
Book of Judgment and sins Speaker

Narrative of author and his own opinions

Sufferer of great deals of pain, but irrepressible T P C A S S T Attitude
Dark, but with a hopeful tone
Full transcript