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Lyrics submitted by fennsk, edited by Ashram

The Unforgiven song meanings
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  • +27
    General Comment
    A 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
  • +19
    General Comment
    To 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
  • +12
    General Comment
    best 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
  • +11
    My Interpretation
    OK 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
  • +6
    General Comment
    This 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
  • +5
    General Comment
    This 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
    General Comment
    personally my favortie Metallica song, should be obvious that the song is about a guy going through life that was made fun and "labeled" as a child, forced into conformity as an adult, and left alone to die as an old man regretting he ever lived. The song explains that what you do will forever be more important than what you've known and felt
    Sephirothon May 22, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment
    ok, 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 Comment
    I 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
    My Opinion
    The cycle of life and death in a world filled with people using you and taking profit out of you.
    truthseeker777on January 13, 2016   Link

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