Analysis of the poem Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes

Analysis of the poem Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes

Hawk Roosting

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.
Inaction, no falsifying dream
Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.

The convenience of the high trees!
The air's buoyancy and the sun's ray
Are of advantage to me;
And the earth's face upward for my inspection.

My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
It took the whole of Creation
To produce my foot, my each feather:
Now I hold Creation in my foot

Or fly up, and revolve it all slowly -
I kill where I please because it is all mine.
There is no sophistry in my body:
My manners are tearing off heads -

The allotment of death.
For the one path of my flight is direct
Through the bones of the living.
No arguments assert my right:

The sun is behind me.
Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.



Right now analyzing it with the poem Hawk Roosting with flirts form language, imagery rhythm rhyme tone, and subject. We starting with the subject so the hawk in the poem represents an arrogant and self-obsessed dictator or the hawk represents a sniper used in war as a killing machine or the hawk represents a hawk. Right I put these three up here because this Hawk Roosting is ambiguous in its message as are some of the others but there are kind of three central interpretations really and I kind of go along with the first one night and perhaps this article will be more along the lines of that looking at them you know a fascist dictator a tyrant. Some people see it as being and that it is a sniper and potatoes I mean it caused a lot of controversies when it was published in that they thought that it was an about you know fascist dictator. But an Ted Hughes responded to this and just said it's about a hawk it's about giving voice to a natural predator and exploring nature he was very much a poet concerned with them with nature as a theme and as we have seen in his previous poem in the collection bayonet charge with the D farming imagery and the hair images oh so he said that just poem about hawk and so it's important to think about all three of these I think and I will try and when I talk about the speaker I will tend to speak in those general terms rather than connecting it with a dictator the sniper all the hawk but at some point I do as I said I do go along with the first one the first interpretation that this is looking at and the arrogance of a tyrant, a despot.

Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes


 So the form there's the first three stanzas we see that they are regular in uniform in length there are in terms of the structure of the poem there are pairs of stanzas and these pairs to the first two then the middle two and the final two. They all develop the representation or the presentation of the speaker. Now the uniform length of each stanza reflects the speaker's tight control on its surroundings and the speaker is strong and it dominates and the regularity of each stanza in terms of its length in terms of the lines the four lines to the four better so they each Center is a quatrain it indicates this strength and this control. The pairs of stanzas show a development the first to show the physical superiority of the speaker the middle two stanzas discuss how the speaker sees themselves within the context of the of nature within the context of its surroundings and then the final stanzas and so that should be five and six, not four and five at the final two stanzas show an explanation and a justification of its actions now.

 A language we see lots of the first-person pronouns we also see a repetition of negatives in the poem and the poem is written in simple and direct language just because there might be a couple of words in there that were difficult to air you know that are so sophistry. For example and is perhaps and we would not say that was a simple vocabulary but on the whole, it is and written and simple and direct language. So the repetition of the third-person pronouns shows how central to the poem the speaker is it's also easy egotistical if it is egotistical and it's self-centered and by placing lots of these first personal pronouns I, me, my, mine and highlights the egotistical nature of the speaker. The use of negatives is suggestive of a political speech and political rhetoric you know they're that they're political slogans almost and you know nothing has changed inside again and no arguments and it's almost as if they 're rejecting rhetoric remember rhetoric is the art of communication and politicians use rhetoric all the time you know they manipulate language they manipulate phrases in cliches in order to make a particular point. This speaker, however, it's using political slogans but they are rejecting rhetoric okay no arguments assert my right they're just relying on their strengths and their brute force.

 The simple and direct language he contrasts with the violence in the poem there is lots of violence and the violent images you know my the part one path my flights direct through the bones of the living and my manners are tearing off heads so there are lots of violent and we put that into the imagery section as well although  I'm not so about but the speaker here it is trying to imitate politician sophistication another type over there see if you can spot that a politician's sophistication but in reality the speaker is just some brutal thug.

 A use of assonance is a repetition of vowel sounds and here we have the repetition of this kind of this double e sound so feet, sleep, eat, trees, me so although there might not be a double e in the words they still produce that sound and there is a con class of god with nature and the whole of creation. We see this indiscriminate killer so not choosing victims just and just killing where they please. So the abstinence of the e sound in the poem and particularly prevalent in the early stanzas. Mimics of screech of a hawk okay so going back to the natural imagery in the poem it is a predominant sound in the poem and showing how the hawk it dominates its surroundings and if you see the hawk is representing something else then whatever it represents it you know that shows how that dominates the surroundings and has an effect on the surroundings. Now the speaker talks about is a product of creation it took the whole of creation to produce my foot my each feather now I hold creation in my foot turn is come turn creation on its head in fact, on the one hand, it this is a suggestion of evolution and that it the hawk is a product of evolution to become supreme predator it's at the top of its food chain. However, the speaker you know Ted uses is capitalized not that Ted uses the speaker sorry that the speaker capitalizes creation and Ted Hughes has chosen to do this in order to imply a god-like creator and also that the speaker thinks of themselves have been made in God's image which further exaggerated s' the speaker's arrogant and √ęgotism.

 The speaker has become this godlike and presence within there that within their habitat within their own ecosystem of course and if you see that as the hawk they are the predator at the top of it it's food chain they can give all out what they can't give life well they do give life to their own Hawks but they don't give it to other species but they can take life. If it's the fascist dictator we're looking at and again they you know they see themselves as godlike on their own in their leadership. The speaker being presented is an indiscriminate killer this is the ultimate control and you know that they see that they're taking of life is the ultimate control the ultimate power the ultimate dominance that they have over their habitat and their surroundings.

 Now moving on to rhythm and rhyme well is an irregular meter so that not all of the lines are the same length and nor do they have the same pattern and there's no uniform rhyme scheme now. I think that this lack of regularity in the meter and the end the rhyme shows how the speaker is above these things all consider themselves to be above them these things now this contrast to what I said about four I said that the regular and stanza length shows his tight control and that the speaker has but now I'm saying that because there's no rhythmic pattern or rhyme scheme and it's not that it shows a lack of control it's that there are they're above these things they have ownership and control over their own surroundings and then they're not going to fit into a pattern of rhythm or rhyme in the poem okay so they-they don't fit into anyone elses kind of dictate. They create their own so the speaker here is creating his own and pattern within the poem "Hawk Roosting".

 Now the tone I've used the last stanza here and the tawny sinister and it is threatening and we have this suggestion at the end of continuity I think which adds to this sir this Menace within the poem. So this tone of Menace this sinister and threat whether it is representing a dictator or the thought processes of the hawk the natural predator and we are left with a chilling image at the end that there is there is little change under the regime of a dictator unless and they decide again and very little does change and under fascist regimes because the regime is there for the pleasure if you will of the dictator and as long as they are happy they're not going to change things and also by extension this suggestion that nothing will change I think Hughes is showing that they were are always going to be these types of political leaders. The poem is cyclical in that it starts and ends in a similar way and both the first and last lines start with the personal pronoun "I" and showing this at the centrality of the speaker to the bone but it also could be a comment on the prevalence of these autocratic leaders okay so these fascist dictators these tyrants these despots their their prevalence of them throughout history and and perhaps they are going to we are going to continue to see these types of leaders and therefore I feel that this strengthens is this threatening and menacing tone of the poem "Hawk Roosting".
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