Poetry Commentary- 'Hawk Roosting' by Ted Hughes

Essay by bunnyluverJunior High, 9th gradeA, December 2006

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"Hawk Roosting", by Ted Hughes is a poem that focuses upon a benevolent hawk, who believes that the world belongs to him. The poem written in first person as a dramatic monologue, creates a comparison in the readers mind, between the hawk and an egoistic dictator.

In the opening lines of the poem, a very negative impression is given, beginning with the visually threatening lines: "Between my hooked head and hooked feet". This image has a strong effect, because sharp claws and sharp beaks are often associated with fear, or the idea of evil. The phrase "no falsifying dream", has a large significance to one's impression of the speaker, expressing that he is a realist and a pragmatist, and that he shows no mercy towards anyone, or anything. The lines 3 and 4 reinforce this thought, showing that the hawk is a malevolent creature, and single-mindedly violent.

The second stanza of Hughes' poem describes the beauty of the earth, and how it is of advantage to the speaker.

This is ironic, because the Hawk is proven to be an insensitive killer, who uses his advantage of strength to kill and damage others; and is now insisting that the earth and its beauty belongs to him. Line 8 begins to develop the idea of the hawk's superiority and control, as "the world lies below him for inspection". This image also gives the idea of the speaker's omniscience.

In the third stanza, the speaker clearly describes himself as having the role of God, or Creation. The hawk explains how it took all good efforts of Creation to create him, in fact so flawlessly that now he has taken over the role of the Creator. To further develop this idea, the poet describes the hawk as "locked upon the rough bark".