William Henley
(1) Out of the night that covers me,
(2) Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
(3) I thank whatever gods may be
(4) For my unconquerable soul.
(5) In the fell clutch of circumstance
(6) I have not winced nor cried aloud.
(7) Under the bludgeonings of chance
(8) My head is bloody, but unbowed.
(9) Beyond this place of wrath and tears
(10) Looms but the Horror of the shade,
(11) And yet the menace of the years
(12) Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
(13) It matters not how strait the gate,
(14) How charged with punishments the scroll.
(15) I am the master of my fate.
(16) I am the captain of my soul.
William Henley was the oldest of six children and struggled with tuberculosis for the entirety of his life. With his illness taking hold at such a young age, Henley was constantly out of school. His most famous poem, by far, was “Invictus.” It is said that this was written as a demonstration of his resilience following the amputation of his foot due to tubercular infection. The works he published while sick, In Hospital, were some of the earliest versions of free verse in England at that time. 
Poetic Technique
Simile: a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid. Usually uses like or as. 
Lines 1 and 2 say “Out of the night that covers me, black as the Pit from pole to pole…” Henley compares the “night” to “the Pit,” which is a reference to Hell, using the words as. Had the word “as” not been used, it would have been a metaphor.
In this poem, the “darkness” can reference evil, or even depression. Thanking the gods for an “unconquerable soul” could mean that through any adversity the person faces, he or she will have a soul that is untouched. The second stanza repeats this theme of being unconquerable, and that the body may be broken, but never the spirit.
This poem’s deeper meaning really boils down to the last two lines. “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul” fully encapsulates the idea that recovery is dependent on the mindset of the person being treated. Take, for example, a placebo. A placebo is the idea that by telling someone who is receiving help for something when they are in fact, not, will allow for the person to heal him or herself. It’s ultimately up to you. People suffering from any sort of ailment are doomed to everlasting pain if they are unable to accept that they are in charge of their feelings. People that have depression are generally the most well off. I know from experience that unless it is fully put in your head that you can change your mentality, you can’t. A person’s disposition can be solely responsible for his or her recovery.
This poem reiterates the need to be courageous and bold in the face of adversity. Weakness in the face of death only makes you more susceptible to  death itself. Being bold and unafraid in light of illness is what truly defines character. One must accept that he or she really is in charge of his or her feelings; that he or she really is the captain of his or her soul.
Visual Explanation
This image really sums up the inspirational message of this poem perfectly. Through all of the darkness, the suffering, and the torture, a rainbow can still form if you will it to. The black clouds represent the “night that covers me” and they are essentially “black as the Pit from pole to pole.” The light among the darkness symbolizes the immense struggle it takes to finally land a recovery, but once you accept that you really are the master of your fate, you can do almost anything. There are no longer limits once you’ve accepted that the only one stopping your success and happiness is yourself. If you look closely, the black clouds part way for the colored cloud, which bursts through. It’s almost as if this cloud has been waiting for a long time to finally break free and reveal itself.

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