Rudyard Kipling Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

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

Expert Answers info

Clair Heathcote eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write61 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

mr-robitaille eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write29 answers

starTop subject is Literature

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.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lovepoems | Student

in this poem a father addresses his son and tell him about the quality of a perfect man.the poet means that a perfect man is one who is confident of what he does,he does not chage his views even when others are pointing out at him.a person who is able to hear the truth even if it would be really bitter.the poet here simply tells us that a perfect person is all over a confident,successful,honouracle and is a leader and can also be trustful.