Thinking of religion and “free thought,” Haines speaks some very British words: "I should think you are able to free yourself. You are your own master, it seems to me." He no doubt intends something like the stirring conclusion to William Ernest Henley's Invictus: “I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul.” The rational, secular, rightthinking individual should be able to take charge of his life and purge his mind of claptrap like "that idea of a personal God." Ironically, though, the conjunction of freedom and self-mastery in Haines' words also evokes the doctrines of Catholicism, as embodied in another passage of The Divine Comedy.

JH 2011

Virgil's Last Words, one of 100 wood block prints that Salvador Dalí made to illustrate the Divine Comedy. Source: www.dalionline.com.