Poetry as an Enunciation of Lasting Inspiration : A Critique Paper on SIR WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY’S INVICTUS (1888)

originally posted in theinnovativejournal.wordpress.com


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Sir William Ernest Henley’s classic works of literature have undoubtedly transpired through generations and generations. These works went on further through the tapering halls on the path of universality and excellence. Until today, they continue to thrive as they prove what permanence is all about. Among these works, Invictus soared greatly and perhaps, the highest among his works. It possesses certain elements that one simply can’t find through all other poems of the same goal. Its success on making its way to be etched in the hearts, minds and souls of many marked the continuous flame for the importance and influence of poetry. This poem is known to be a part of the inspiration that moved a lot of notable people- heroes, artists, humanitarians. Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela are just two big names to identify.

This is what poetry is – succinct, methodical, striking, intense. It was written for everyone, every single one. It only has four simple stanzas, each with four short lines and yet it screams of refinement and sophistication. It speaks of a lot of things that lead to what every individual needs in the midst of wild ridicules: inspiration and hope. If these two abstract concepts (hope and inspiration) were real people, it is as if they have breathed life into Invictus to counsel people one way or another.

It empowers and encourages as it talks about how one coward, damaged soul is able to find a way out of a despairing night. No matter what a person’s problem might be- be it with insanity, education, health, inner conscience or with the nuisances concerned with love, I am sure that this poem can spark up something deep within that person for it is written in the light of clarity, but also with depth. It is an invitation to the readers that whatever obstacles there may be, we can brave it without succumbing to the thoughts that we are weak and helpless.

It is that type of poem that talks to you in your darkest hours and tells you to never give in to the wistful moments and life pressures. When you feel like your life is one big joke and everyday is like waking up to a nagging sun and grumpy, dark clouds, reading it a couple of times can do the job. This is where its relieving side enters; it is a pacifying catalyst for low self-esteem. When you feel like it is not your life anymore because others try to dictate to you what you should do, who you should be, how you should dress or walk or laugh or love, just remember the last two lines of the poem:

Screen_Shot_2013-03-15_at_6.17.22_PM_7b89c5dc-f2fd-4e1d-b6bf-356cbd80532b_large“I am the master of my fate,

I am the captain of my soul.”

The hint of rebellion in those last two lines only made things even better and only made the poem’s purpose even stronger. It reiterates the struggle of controlling life. Why “struggle”? The truth was not hidden nor recreated in the poem. It did not complement nor praised how great life is because the poem technically said that life is no fairytale, but we can fire up the desire to live it in the best way possible.

Many have dared to do the same, they too have written majestic poems in the mission to move people and they have done it emphatically, but there is nothing I can compare to how Invictus touched my poor, pained soul. Invictus is the world telling people to be unafraid, be daring and never let anything or anyone conquer you.

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