written by Ted Hughes - purpose - written in 1960s -
- 6 quatrains
- free verse - mimics the Hawk’s autonomy and ability to control
‘ I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed.’￼
‘I’ - PERSONAL PRONOUN - immediately asserting superiority - preoccupied with itself - dramatic monologue
‘top’ - METAPHOR - presenting himself above God and Mother Nature
‘my eyes closed’ - reflects confidence and power
‘Between my hooked head and hooked feet:
Or in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat.￼’
‘hooked’ - REPETITION
‘perfect’ - ADJECTIVE - prideful, meticulous, and ruthless
‘feet’ + ‘eat’ - RHYMING COUPLET - precise and controlled
‘The convenience of the high trees!￼
The air’s buoyancy￼ and the sun’s rays￼
Are of advantage to me;’￼
‘convenience…!’ - nature is tailor-made for the hawk - controls nature and can exploit it
‘!’ - exclamation
‘Are of advantage of me’ - ANASTROPHE - metaphorically in control of syntax and word order
unrivalled in power
‘Now I hold Creation in my foot.’
ENJAMBMENT (within this stanza) - long process of it’s Creation - self-importance
creates a tone of arrogance - he believes he is the pinnacle of creation.
‘I kill where I please because it is all mine.’
‘kill’ - assumes God-like powers (no conscience or concern)
MONOSYLLABIC - simplistic nature and ease in which it kills
‘it is all mine’ - entitlement
has a callous view on life - broken line = violence
‘The allotment of death.’
angle of death
‘The sun is behind me.’
lack of morality - Hawk itself in a position which precedes the Sun.
‘Nothing has changed since I began.
My eye has permitted no change.
I am going to keep things like this.’
‘.’ - definitive
More generally, it could be said that the bird is a symbol of the human evils of arrogance, destructiveness, conceited and egotistical attitude, obsession of power and tyranny; in short, the hawk is a symbol of inhumanity.