William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) was an English poet, critic, and editor. His best known poem is “Invictus,” published in 1875, which he wrote just following the amputation of his foot due to tuberculosis.
When and How to Pair: Have students read “Invictus” after reading chapter 37 to focus on the themes of fate and free will. Ask students to compare the tone of the poem to Captain Ahab; how does Ahab manipulate the idea of fate to convince his crew to hunt Moby Dick? How does he use the doubloon to further this cause? Do Ahab’s crew members believe they are the masters of their fates, or the captains of their souls? Does Ahab believe he is the master of his fate? What reasons would you give to support your answer?