This Henley’s decision to remain in charge
This intellectual transformation
also occurs in Invictus, which focuses on a spiritual epiphany made through his
physical hardships and experiences. The discovery that “I am the master of my
fate” is reflective of Henley’s foot amputation and hospitalisation at the time
of composition, which greatly impacted his outlook on life. The repetition of “master”
is indicative of Henley’s decision to remain in charge even through his
hardship, the powerful lines are used as an outlook of courage and shed light
into the “darker” corners of life. Rather than be
deterred by his pain, Henley uses the opportunity to strengthen his resilience
which is evident in “the menace of the years, finds and shall find me unafraid”.
This metaphor with death coupled with the shift from present to future tense emphasises
his determination to maintain a positive attitude. The forth stanza opens with an allusion to the Christian bible where
Jesus say’s “straight is the gate and narrow is the way, which is to leader
onto life, and few will be that find it”, with the quote “straight the gate”,
suggesting that it doesn’t matter how you are placed in a hardship. This is
contrasted to “the punishments the scroll”, an inference to the depths of hell.
This juxtaposition is a metaphor for difficult challenges of life, good or bad.
The speaker is suggesting that the individual is in charge, and is in control
of their own fate. The poems intellectual message is that doesn’t matter
who you are, you can overcome dark times and meet challenges by being brave and
never losing faith in your own soul’s empathetically that, it
doesn’t matter who you are, believer or not, you can overcome dark times by
being brave and never losing faith in your own soul’s strength. As a result, Henley’s immense physical
trauma necessitated his forging of new self-deterministic values in order to
arrive at a renewed perception on life.