The only concrete detail we know about the speaker of “If—” is that he’s a father who is dispensing paternal advice to his son. (Actually, if we want to get technical, we don’t know for sure that the speaker is male, meaning that the speaker could be a mother. However, since the whole poem is organized around ideas of manhood and masculinity, it’s reasonable to assume the speaker is male.) Although we don’t have a lot of specifics regarding the speaker’s age, racial identity, or class position, the nature of the advice he gives reveals a great deal about him. Perhaps most importantly, the speaker has a quintessentially stoic outlook, which influences the advice he gives to his son about the importance of remaining emotionally placid no matter what happens. Significantly, this advice applies as much to “Triumph” as to “Disaster” (line 11). As the speaker insists, it’s important to “treat those two impostors just the same” (line 12). The advice the speaker gives throughout the rest of the poem reveals a preoccupation with related characteristics, like levelheadedness, self-assurance, humility, and perseverance. These characteristics define the speaker’s notion of an ideal masculinity—an ideal by which he himself seems to live.