"The Unforgiven" as written by Jay Patrick Ceravolo, Vincent Charles Labella, Christopher Felton Nail and Kyle Daniel Thomas....
New blood joins this earth
And quickly he's subdued
Through constant pain disgrace
The young boy learns their rules
With time the child draws in
This whipping boy done wrong
Deprived of all his thoughts
The young man struggles on and on he's known
A vow unto his own
That never from this day
His will they'll take away

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

They dedicate their lives
To running all of his
He tries to please them all
This bitter man he is
Throughout his life the same
He's battled constantly
This fight he cannot win
A tired man they see no longer cares
The old man then prepares
To die regretfully
That old man here is me

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never be
Never see
Won't see what might have been
What I've felt
What I've known
Never shined through in what I've shown
Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labeled me
I labeled you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven

You labeled me
I labeled you
So I dub thee unforgiven

Never free
Never me
So I dub thee unforgiven


Lyrics submitted by fennsk

"The Unforgiven" as written by Jay Patrick Ceravolo, Vincent Charles Labella, Christopher Felton Nail, Kyle Daniel Thomas

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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The Unforgiven song meanings
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189 Comments

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  • +11
    General CommentTo sound like another mindless internet drone myself...I'll start this off with "I think." I think this...well, I"m really sure this song is about society today. And yes, today is the same (if not worse) than 12 years ago when the album was released. Anyway, I think this song is about society in the manner that nobody is free to be themselves anymore. The only time we are truly individuals are when we rebel. The way the world works, as soon as we are born, we are influenced by those around us to join the conformist, industry-ruled world we live in. Even though it was a comedy, Number 2 in Austin Powers said it best. "There is no world anymore. It's just corporations." And given the lyrics "What I've felt
    What I've known
    Never shined through in what I've shown
    Never free
    Never me
    So I dub thee unforgiven"
    I just find that these enforce my thoughts.
    "What I've felt" -- deals with his feelings and emotions
    "What I've known" -- Everything that he (and we) know that we aren't allowed by culture to disperse
    "Never shine through in what I"ve shown" --We are becoming one big lump of crap...a big mass with no individuality. This means that even though he's a person, it doesn't show, because he's a drone.
    "Never free" --Ruled by everything around him
    "Never me" --It's not acceptable in today's culture to be yourself. (I say screw this and everyone who enforces it, but that's the way it is)
    "So I dub thee unforgiven" --He feels he's unforgiven because he can't find it in him to stand out so much that you'll recognize him in the basic group of lowlifes.
    Anyway, this is what I think the song means.
    OrgasmThroughFinchon July 02, 2002   Link
  • +6
    General Commentbest metallica song. totally about how a child is controled and demanded to confrom and he regrets doing it as an old man.
    Centurianon May 30, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentA child is born.
    He is raised and forced to conform through pain.
    He vows to himself that he will never lose his will.

    As a man he never lives for himself.
    Everything pure he's ever felt never shows through his actions.
    It's too late to turn back.
    He will never forgive himself.

    As on old man he prepares for death.
    He has nothing but his regret.

    He forgives not himself.
    He forgives no one else.
    singsong42on February 24, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about a father and his sons relationship. The son hates the old man because the old man has no self respect and so was unable to raise the boy with the perspective of self respect. Due to this, the son has a horrible life and blames his father. The father is proud and wont accept his son outgrowing him, thus the conflict of wills, ultimately leading to the sons self sabotage.
    twilightwrathon December 21, 2009   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationOK I know I'm a bit late, but here's what the song really means to me.

    It is about a guy (him, you, me, anyone) who was never free to be himself. Instead, society forces us to adopt certain behaviours from the moment we were born. They tell us what's right or wrong, what's good or bad, whether legally (laws) or culturally (through the opinion of others). So the guy grows up and feels trapped and he can never escape from this prison. Then he just gives up. He doesn't care anymore and feels he might as well die right away since it's not he (the guy he was or could have been otherwise without all the social pressure he had to conform to) anymore who lives but some zombie who has had to live by society's standards. So in a sense, the unforgiven could refer to society as a whole.

    But to me, the unforgiven also has a second meaning : himself. He is the Unforgiven because he can't forgive himself for not breaking free from all this crap and finding enough courage to be himself, to be the boy he could have been had he not surrendered to social pressure. Despite his vow to never surrender (that never from this day his will they'll take away), he failed. Then he gives up the fight, he feels old, and he feels his life is over (I don't think the lyrics litterally mean he grew old. That's just how he feels.) He feels there's nothing more to expect from life. (The old man then prepares to die regretfully) What's the point in living if he could never be himself anyway? For him it's too late. He can't forgive society for forcing its rules upon him, nor can he forgive himself for not having fought harder to break free from this when he was younger.
    MasterOfMyOwnLifeon June 22, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General Commentok, no one commented on this either, Jesus man! This is another classic Metallica song, y is no one commenting on these songs! if it wasnt for that intro riff that Kirk plays, i wouldn't have started playing guitar, this song is bitchin'!
    Metal wont dieon April 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI didn't comment on it because it is so obviosly good that nothing I could say would improve it, and if someone doesn't realize how great it is, I certainly wont be able to speak louder than the song.
    elfieon April 18, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti can relate to this song so much. i lived the life of this boy and just like him, since the dayi was born the world owned me and made sure i was taught its rules( what i could/could not do, the way i should dress, behave, talk , think...). although i knew i was unhappy, ididn't know that the world was my source of unhappiness. i drew in to the world and lived my life the way others expected i should and by the time i realized it , so much of my life was wasted. the world's soul possesed my body and chained mine down. i never understood why i did those things because as soon as i let go of all the world's shit inside that anchored me down, i was reborn again. although this song represents me in a way... i am grateful that i did not end up as regretful as the boy did because, although i can't say i have found myself completely, i found out the world's scheme earlier than he did. like the boy though, i kinda dub the world unforgiven as well. it labeled me and put me through so much shit for things i didn't want in the first place, that i am totally resentful... but i guess it is my fault.... ok i will shut up...
    dreadhead12on May 07, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis song is about whatever it means toYOU!!! every great song such as this 1 has multiple meaning and the artist will make it sound like it has many meanings. this song could be about society, or about a boy or its something dif, thier all right
    iron maiden14860on October 02, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThis song reminds me of the novel "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley.

    The young boy learns their rules

    Deprived of all his thoughts

    They dedicate their lives
    To running all of his
    He tries to please them all
    This bitter man he is
    Throughout his life the same
    He's battled constantly
    This fight he cannot win

    These lines from the song strongly remind me of the concept of the book - of living in a world where everyone is foolishly conditioned and "drugged" to think that everyone is happy. Their thoughts, ideas and their individuality is taken from them.

    A brilliant song...
    Ignorethesmokeon May 14, 2009   Link

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