In the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, what does the poet mean by a perfect man?

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A perfect man, according to Kipling, is one who has character. Good character makes you a man. Kipling refers to being a man as having confidence, because he knew he was the best person he could be. It's being able to trust yourself and doing the right thing even while...

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A perfect man, according to Kipling, is one who has character. Good character makes you a man. Kipling refers to being a man as having confidence, because he knew he was the best person he could be. It's being able to trust yourself and doing the right thing even while faced with difficult circumstances.

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Kipling's speaker in this poem lists many of the qualities valued among British men during the Victorian period. Some of these qualities include keeping one's cool even when everyone else is losing his own, trusting one's self even when no one else does, and risking all one's winnings in a single desperate bet. Clearly, self confidence was a part of being "a perfect man" in this society. Additionally, the speaker mentions that, having lost his single desperate bet, the "perfect man" would "never breathe a word about [his] loss" and start over again. He would also treat "triumph and disaster...just the same." Therefore, it is also clear that "a perfect man" is a stoic he accepts wins and losses without emotional display.

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