Tag Archives: Hawk Roosting

Hawk Roosting

4 Feb

            The hawk in Ted Hughes’ poem, ‘Hawk Roosting’ could be said to be a representation of power, and this in turn, the arrogance of power. The poet writes that the hawk sits on the ‘rough bark’ above everything, symbolic of his power and strength. The hawk’s arrogance is shown in line 14 when the narrator remarks that, “I kill where I please because it is all mine.” This quote shows the arrogance of the hawk. He believes that he can do anything he wants, without boundaries because of his power. This presents to the reader that power can corrupt a person, and leads to them becoming arrogant and believing they can do whatever they want: the arrogance of power.

            As well as showing how power can lead to a person believing they are superior, it is also shown that in order to remain powerful, there are conditions. The narrator observes;

The convenience of the high trees! 
The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray 
Are of advantage to me; 

All of these are conditions necessary for the hawk to remain powerful. Without this assistance, the hawk would not be as authoritative as he is. It is shown that the hawk is reluctant to discuss this, only adding that the conditions are an advantage, not definitive of his power.

Response to “Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes

4 Feb

                 The poem “Hawk Roosting” written by Ted Hughes discusses the power and the superiority of a Hawk from the animal’s own perspective. His writing in 1st person as a hawk compares and personifies the life of a human. In lines “I kill where I please because it is all mine” the hawk compares his own savage nature to the egoistic character of a human being. This is also seen in the lines when he says “No arguments assert my right”. Here he presents his supreme power over other animals, as he says that no arguments will be able to diminish his superior rights.

                The author uses anthropomorphosis  to humanize the hawk. This is shown in the lines where the hawk’s body parts are described as “feet and head” as if the hawk is indeed a human. This connotation can be seen in the lines “Between my hooked head and hooked feat”. The author also uses imagery in the lines “I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed”. “My eyes closed” highlights the arrogant nature of the hawk in a more coherent manner, as the eyes closed show that he doesn’t fear or care about anything but himself. As if he is being unaware of the environment around him, and yet this factor does not displease his character. More of his arrogant nature can be seen in the lines “It took the whole of Creation, to produce my foot, my each feather, Now I hold creation in my foot”. The hawk shows how he thinks of himself as a superior creation, because it took the whole world “the whole Creation” to produce one animal such as him. It is interesting how the author chose to capitilize the world “Creation”, it being a simile to the word “World”. By capitilizing this word he shows how powerful and magnificent it is. And it also shows how even more superior the hawk is if it takes this whole powerful “Creation” to create this one animal.

Response to “Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes

4 Feb

                 Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes discusses a hawk, its power, and superiority over all. The hawk in this poem is shown as an egoist, superior and having a firm connection to human beings. In fact Ted Hughes uses anthropomorphosis to create a firm bond between the human and the hawk. Therefore this poem has human behavior and qualities applied to a hawk; it attempts to show humans’ savage nature.

                Primarily Ted Hughes humanizes the hawk to underline the negative qualities which exist almost in every human. The hawk is attributed with human characteristics, behavior, and even motivation. These aspects are presented in the poem quite clearly to ensure that the reader comprehends that the hawk is a symbol of man. In fact the body parts of the hawk are humanized because they are referred to as “head” and “feet” instead of the biological names. After asserting such an idea in the readers mind the poem starts to unveil and show its true nature. It’s true nature being the man’s power and the abuse of that power which occurs in many cases.

                Superiority and power of the hawk is presented primarily by the title of the poem “Hawk Roosting”. If one has ever experienced a hawk roosting they realize that this majestic sound asserts firm power. The author used this name to create imagery of the high status of the hawk and its superiority to all other living things. In addition the first line “I sit in the top of the wood” shows the superiority of the hawk because it simply does not sit in the wood it sits in the top of the wood. Its status above all other animals in the forest, and it shows the superiority of man to all other living things on earth.

                Ted Hughes evokes the feeling that the hawk is extremely egoistic in his conduct. This is made obvious when the hawk states “it took the whole of Creation to produce my foot”. This shows the egoistic nature of the hawk and how it thinks its body is more important than any other creature on earth.  The body of the hawk is described as perfect, symmetric and balanced when the author writes “between my hooked head, and hooked feet”. This shows the solidarity of the body parts and the perfection of the hawk.

                Hawk Roosting by Ted Hughes is a poem to express to human’s their savagery, egoism and superiority to others. It explains how humans take their dominance for granted and how humans abuse their powers.

Hawk Roosting.

4 Feb

The hawk in the poem “Hawk Roosting” by Ted Hughes is presented as a very powerful and self-centered creature. This could be seen from the first word of the poem, “I”, which is also repeated throughout the poem and a pronoun, “my”. The lines “the convenience of the high trees! / The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray / Are of advantage to me” also portray the superiority, egoism and power of the hawk, showing how he is sitting on the high tree and looks upon the world that’s below him with arrogance. All these metaphors show that they allow the hawk to stay in the powerful position.

The poet also has a God reference in the poem, as the “Creation” he is talking about is God himself. The hawk says that God created him, but now he is so powerful and mighty that he is almost God himself, and can control him too, which could be supported by the line “now I hold Creation in my foot”. He can do whatever he pleases, just because he is God. He kills where he pleases because it is all his, and no one can do anything about it. The poet, throughout the poem, tries to convey to the reader that the hawk, being as superior as God, has eclipsed the sun and nothing will ever change, unless he commands so, because his “eye has permitted no change”.


Hawk Roosting- Man Vs. Nature

3 Feb

The hawk, which is the main focus or center of Ted Hughes’s Hawk Roosting, embodies both characteristics of man and nature, demonstrating how the two intertwine.  Thus, there is a clear theme of man versus nature. In terms of its characteristics of man, or anthropomorphic features, the hawk symbolizes more of the negative behavior of man, such as power and how too much of it results in a lack of reasoning, ignorance and arrogance. With respects to its embodiment of nature, that hawk represents nature’s voice and thoughts.

The fact that the poem is narrated from a bird itself is evidence of the poet’s use of anthropomorphism and personification, as a hawk is non-human and cannot narrate. The word choices of “manners”, “feet” and “arguments” are human components, which further draws the link between the hawk and man. The opening line of the poem itself sets the theme, as the hawk appears to be resting (“roosting”) and is at a high position, “the top of the wood”. Hughes uses words such as “convenience”, “allotment” and “buoyancy”, which represent the ease of savagery and the hawk’s (man’s) self-centered attitude, which comes with the power that it personifies.

A clear connection to humanity can be demonstrated by dictatorship, particularly fascism. Often dictators are “roosting” when they come to their position of ultimate power and superiority, as well as biting the hands that feed them. In the poem, this abuse of power is especially evident in the third stanza. This demonstrates the separation from God (“Creation”) and nature, as well as how man (dictators) often forget how they got to their position of power, which is mostly because of their people.

“Now I hold Creation in my foot,” shows that man is now superior to God and anything else that brought it to its position of power, which is an act of betrayal.  The hawk even feels superior and incomparable to something as powerful as the sun, which Hughes conveys in the line “the sun is behind me”, which creates an imagery of the hawk blocking or eclipsing the sun. The idea of fascism also arises by the repeated imagery of death, as Hughes writes, “through the bones of the living”, “…tearing off heads” and “…in sleep rehearse perfect kills and eat”. The arrogance and egoism is evident by the poet’s use of punctuated lines that begin each stanza. This starts the stanza with a very stark and cold tone. The last line of the poem ends with a very arrogant and naive remark, as the hawk feels that it will forever dominate everything else. Again, referring to the connection to humanity, this mindset is also seen in dictators, who think they are invincible and irreplaceable. However, the poet’s matter-of-fact approach to these violent, intense actions of the hawk makes the reader feel that they are acceptable, that they are the norm in nature.

Throughout the poem, the hawk is described as being in its resting state, and appears to be more pensive than active (hence the title of the poem). It sits in its “roost” and thinks over its place in nature.  According to Hughes, the hawk is supposed to symbolize what “nature is thinking”. The setting of the poem is literally in nature, as evident in the imagery of the sun, the “top of the wood”, “high trees” and “rough bark”. By means of straightforward, yet hefty statements, Hughes demonstrates that the hawk’s behavior is natural, and that its actions are based on pure instinct and sophistry (which is ironic, considering the hawk’s statement in line 15).  This contrasts with the more dominant characteristic that man possesses: the ability to reason. In the fifth stanza, this is also elaborated as the hawk justifies his actions with fate (“for the one path of my flight is direct”), meaning that it is destined and has a right to kill. From this aspect, the last line of the poem would make sense, as nature will continue on this cycle of violence and predation.

While some argue that he has made violence appear more acceptable in this poem, Hughes defends himself by stating that this is a cycle in nature, and perhaps that such behavior is more acceptable in nature rather than among mankind. By the use of the hawk, Hughes has symbolized the clash between man and nature, and that man’s (for the most part) rational nature is what separates it from the more instinctual, kill-or-be-killed ways of nature, as well as God, who “created” nature. On the contrary, the poem also suggests that man often has the potential to be irrational as well, tapping into its more instinctual, impulsive side.


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