Invictus (WRITTEN IN 1874) by William Ernest Henley
What are the “paragraphs” in a poem called?
The paragraphs in a poem are called stanzas.
Number each line of your poem beginning with the number 1 and ending with the number 16.
Every poem is always numbered by the lines for easy reference.
WHAT IS THE RHYME SCHEME OF THE POEM “INVICTUS”?
The rhyme scheme of the poem “Invictus” is the following:
Invictus Out of the night that covers me, A Black as the Pit from pole to pole, B I thank whatever gods may be A For my unconquerable soul. B In the fell clutch of circumstance C I have not winced nor cried aloud. D Under the bludgeonings of chance C My head is bloody, but unbowed. D Beyond this place of wrath and tears E Looms but the Horror of the shade, F And yet the menace of the years E Finds, and shall find, me unafraid. F It matters not how strait the gate, G How charged with punishments the scroll. H I am the master of my fate: G I am the captain of my soul. H
1. Invictus is Latin for unconquered. What clue does this provide about the poem’s theme?
The poem explores the theme of strength, bravery and perseverance.
2. What are bludgeonings (Line 7)?
Bludgeonings are beatings.
3. What does it mean to be bludgeoned by chance?
In the poem, Invictus, to be bludgeoned by chance means to be harmed by fate.
4. What is the tone in the first stanza?
The tone in the first stanza is declarative. The author is only thanking whatever gods there may be for his unconquerable soul.
5. In your own words, summarize the final stanza.
The final stanza is explaining that no matter what stands in the speaker’s way, he is always in charge of his life.
6. Which lines in the poem tell you that the speaker isn’t frightened of what life may bring?
The lines in the poem that tell the reader that the speaker isn’t frightened are lines 6, 8, 12, 15, and 16.
7. Why isn’t the speaker frightened?
8. How does this poem apply to Nelson Mandela and our theme of perseverance?