hawk roosting poem

Critical analysis of Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes

In the poem, ‘Hawk Roosting’, Ted talks about a superior and egoistic creature, the Hawk. Hawk represents the top of the food chain and always ruled the food chain according to its wish.

The poem “Hawk Roosting” was written by ‘Ted Hughes’. He was born on 17 August 1930 and died on 28 October 1998. He was noted as an English poet, translator and children’s writer and also, married to Sylvia Plath, a distinguished American Poet. The poem ‘Hawk Roosting’ was published in 1960 in the collection “LUPERCAL”. The poem was written in free verse with no rhyme and no meter and contains 24 lines of six quatrains.

In the poem, ‘Hawk Roosting’, Ted talks about a superior and egoistic creature, the Hawk. Hawk represents the top of the food chain and always ruled the food chain according to its wish. Here, we will see that the Hawk being superior to its power always tries to confine himself as the most powerful creature with no regrets in his life. Here, Hawk had been personified as it contains human qualities. The whole poem was dictated by the Hawk, so we can call ‘Hawk Roosting’ a monologue (and readers are the silent listener).

At the starting of the poem, we have seen that the Hawk was taking nap at the top of the tree after a tiring day and even when he was in asleep, he was dreaming about killing its prey with more perfection and eating it. In his dreams too, his feet and head were hooked properly. Likewise, we can say that, when a powerful person set a goal/aim about something, they try their best to achieve it at any cost. And if they don’t get it, they use their power and snatch it. They will not think about anything/anyone. In their dreams also, they will be planning and plotting to get that thing.

In the second stanza, the Hawk says that the nature made the tall trees, air buoyancy and the sun rays to help him to catch his prey. Nature is also under him and works according to his benefits, “the earth’s face upward for my inspection”, that is the sun rays help him to see, the air buoyancy to fly and the top of the tree to inspect his prey. Here, we can say that Hawk is a superior creature and even nature was bound to make it for the personal benefit of the Hawk. We can also relate it with the High Society/Rich/Corrupted People, who give their priority to themselves to fulfil their needs and requirements.

In the upcoming stanzas, we will see that the Hawk said that every creature helped him to get each feature and the foot. And now he is the one, who is holding the same creature with that foot to kill and eat them. Likewise, we can say that High Society/Rich/Corrupted People use people during their needs or elections and betray the same people after their needs are over. They don’t even give explanations about anything to anyone for their dominant behaviour and show no sophistry, the same as the Hawk does. The Hawk plans the hunt so smoothly and cleverly by holding its prey so tightly that the hook of the foot reaches their bone and makes it difficult for the prey to come out of it and the same goes for the corrupted people too.

In the last stanzas the Hawk is trying to show us its selfish or fascist nature by saying that, “the Sun is behind me”, and “Nothing has changed since I began”, that is, from the day the Hawk began to hunt its prey, he had never had looked back and had grown stronger and stronger by the days. Even the Sun which is out of human control is behind him and is following his orders. Now he wants it to be as it is, he does not want to change anything. Likewise, we can say that Higher Authorised/Political people also want their position to be fixed forever and hold it tightly so that nobody can snatch it away from them.

So, we can say that “HAWK ROOSTING” by TED HUGHES is a metaphorical poem as the ‘HAWK’ is personified as it shows human qualities in it. The Hawk also shows the megalomaniac(power lover) or fascist qualities of a person of a higher post, who want to reach success in no time, by any means, whether it is good or bad they don’t care. It is also a monologue as the whole poem is dictated by the ‘HAWK’, that is the single speaker. Also, it contains political qualities too, so we can call this a political satire.

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