Hawk’s Monologue Poem by Ted Hughes | Summary Explanation & Questions

Hawk's Monologue Poem by Ted Hughes

 

HAWK’S MONOLOGUE by Ted Hughes

About the poet

 

Edward James Ted Hughes (1930-1998) was an eminent and distinguished English poet and writer. He wrote for children and is called a children’s writer. His poems are interesting to read for the children.
 
 Many critics of his age and after that rank him as one of the best poets among his contemporaries. Ted Hughes was British Poet Laureate and he maintained his position from 1984 until his death.

 

Summary | Main Idea | Hawk’s Monologue

 

Hawk’s Monologue is a thought-provoking and realistic poem. It is about the misuse of power, The hawk is sitting on the top of a tree. His eyes are closed but he can judge the actions of other birds. He is a power-drunk He considers himself a superpower. 
 
He thinks that the rays of the sun help him for the hunting of his prey. The earth too raises its pace upward to salute him. He boasts that he is superior to all other creatures. He flies here and there without any fear. He proves himself the sovereign ruler of all other creatures. He boasts and proclaims that his supremacy is permanent. 
I kill where I please because it is all mine  
l am going to keep things like this.
 
The basic theme of this poem is based on the false judgment of the hawk. He suffers from the delusion of power. He is a power drunk. He fails to face the realities and facts of life. 

 

He only worships the false image of power. He is unable to judge the temporary power, like a cruel dictator. The tragic end is wrapped in his passion to rule others. He makes a false judgment.

Hawk’s Monologue is a highly symbolic poem. In this poem, the hawk is a symbol of power, destruction, and brutality. His cruelty is shared by the dictators of the world. Like dictators, the hawk also has a false notion of his power and authority. 
 
He considers himself superior to everyone. The hawk is also a symbol of a cruel murderer. He thinks that God has given him the power to kill his prey. He thinks

that he is unchallenged in his authority and power.

The poem Hawk’s A monologue is criticism and satire on the dictators of the world. They claim to be superior to other people as does the hawk of the poem. But later on, they are unable to understand the temporary nature of their own life. 
 
But soon they meet their own tragic end. The cruel dictators of the world suffer from foolishness. With the passage of time, they become corrupt, and soon they met their tragic end. 
 
Later on, they come to know the reality of their temporary power. Through this poem, Ted Hughes gives a moral message to all the dictators of the world. The message is very simple but sometimes they understand it very late. 
 
He advises the dictators that they should not feel proud of their power and authority. They must be humble and submissive before God, Who is the lord of the lords. So the cruel dictators should not consider themselves powerful and superior.

Reference to Context and Explanation

Lines 1-4

I sit on 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.

Reference

 

These lines have been taken from the poem Hawk’s Monologue by Ted Hughes.
 

Context

 

Hawk’s Monologue is the speech of ‘a a savage bird of prey who takes pride in his unchallenged power to kill and destroy the other weak birds. The poem also exposes the attitude and misconceptions of power-drunk persons in this world. 
 
This poem is a dramatic monologue delivered by the Hawk who boasts much of his superiority over other birds. He thinks that he is the most powerful creation of nature and has the complete right to kill others.
 

Explanation

 

In these lines, the hawk tells us about his hypocritical and cruel nature. He says that he is sitting on the branch of a tree. His eyes are closed but he is not misguided by his false dreams. 

 

He is observing all things in his dreams. Even in his dreams, his hooked beak and claws go on rehearsing the act of killing other birds. He is a master in his art of killing other birds.

 

Lines 5-8

 

The convenience of the high trees;

The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s rays

Are an advantage to me,

And the earth’s face upward for my inspection.

Reference and Context

 

Same as for lines 1-4

Explanation

 

In these lines, the hawk shows himself superior to other creatures. He thinks that he is the lord of everything. Nature has provided him with many advantages for his plunderers’ activities. 

 

He says that the tall trees in the forest, the buoyant air, the rays of the sun, and the vast surface of the earth all have been created for his convenience. Owing to these facilities he can easily locate, control, and hunt his prey. He enjoys all these comforts fully.

 

Lines 9-12

 

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.

Reference and Context

 

Same as for lines 1-4

Explanation

 

In these lines, the hawk considers himself the best creature of God. God has gifted him the power to kill and destroy the other birds. Hawk himself asserts that his feet are firmly fixed upon a rough trunk of a tree. 

 

He further says that the services of the entire creation were used to produce his feet and each of his wings. He is the ruler of all creations. Allah Almighty has paid special attention to make each part of his body. His feathers are also very strong like his feet. There is no flaw in any part of his body.

 

Lines 13-16

 

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

Reference and Context

 

Same as for lines 1-4

Explanation

 

In these lines, the hawk tells us that when he flies, the whole universe revolves around him. He can fly fast or slow, as he likes. He is the lord of his territory. 

 

He can kill his prey when and where he likes. Nobody can guess his supernatural kind of power. There is no defect in his body. He is perfectly made. His sole purpose is to kill and tear the other birds whenever he likes.

 

Lines 17-20

 

The allotment of death.

For the one path of my flight is direct

Through the bones of the living.

No arquments assert my riqht:

Reference and Context

 

Same as for lines 1-4

Explanation

 

In these lines, the hawk says that his only job is to allot death to any bird. He can kill the bird of his choice without being challenged by anyone. For this purpose, he flies straight through the body of his prey and kills it at once.

 

Whenever he flies in the air, he tries to make his path through the bones and flesh of the living creatures. This is his fundamental right which God has allotted him. Nobody can argue against this right.

 

Lines 21-24

 

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.

Reference and Context

 

Same as for lines 1-4

Explanation

 

In these lines, the poet describes the boastful nature of the hawk. The hawk thinks and considers himself the sovereign lord of this world. He is actually a power-drunkHe considers that the sun is behind his back. The sun provides him light to capture his prey. 

 

It guides his sharp eyes to mark his prey and hunt it as easily as possible. He does not like any change in the world. He wants to continue to keep things in the same manner. He does not allow any revolution against his sovereign rule. Even

he thinks natural objects like the sun, must be under his control.

 

 

Important Questions and their Answers

 

Question 1

 

Discuss the theme of the poem Hawk’s Monologue by Ted Huges.

Answer

 

The poem Hawk’s Monologue is about the delusion of a power-drunk hawk who is very proud of his physical power. He thinks that he is the cause of creation. Actually, Hawk is a symbol of despotic rulers of the world.
 

In spite of being the crown of creation man has some malevolent traits which quite artistically presented by Ted Hughes In his wonderful poem Hawk’s Monologue. 

 

The poem is a metaphorical representation of tyranny, arrogance, destructiveness, Conceitedness, superiority, egotistical attitude, and obsession with the power and inhumanity of the man. All the destruction in the world is just because of man all the above-mentioned evils.

 

Power drunken man kills and destroys everything that comes in his way, like the Hawk who kills and preys innocent birds and other creatures to satisfy his hunger. The theme of destruction is all-pervasive in the poem.

 

Man’s desire to gain utmost power has made him a tyrant and arrogant. Such as in this poem Hawks claims great power and dominance. He says Now I hold

Creation in my foot. Arrogance and conceited attitude of man are also some of the dominant themes of the poem. 

 

The Hawk claims that God has designed this world and its all things for its purpose

so as a man. Mortality is another dominant theme in the poem. The death is personified by Hawk. Such as Hawk ruthlessly tears off and beheads the innocent creatures so as death is cruel, merciless.  I kill wherever I wish.

 

The poem is not a simple monologue of a cruel bird rather it is a manifestation of the cruel force of nature in the face of the man and his inhuman desires. Man’s lust for power and dominance made him a tyrant who knows nothing except perfect control over the world.

 

Question 2

 

Can we say that Hawk’s Monologue is the assertion of a power-drunk ruler.

 

How has the poem presented hawk as a symbol of power, strength, and destructiveness?

 

How would you comment on hawk’s claim? Now I hold Creation in my

foot?

 

Answer

 

The poem is a dramatic monologue in which a Hawk talks to himself. He considers himself a symbol of power. He has grown old but he still considers himself powerful. He says that he still grips the branch of the tree with all his might. 

 

His work according to him is cutting off heads from bodies. He thinks he can kill any bird around him and he has the right to do so. He thinks he is blessed with sharp and powerful paws. He considers himself master of all-natural objects.

 

The poem is a symbolic poem. The hawk may be a symbol of a dictator. A dictator

thinks that he has all powers. He can do what he wants. He considers himself the owner of black and white. He argues that all things happen and should happen according to his will.

 

He is of the opinion that he can kill others for nothing and there is nobody to ask him. He is above accountability and has the power to make laws of his own choice. Hawk as a dictator has so many similarities between them. A dictator kills his opponents without any reason like a hawk. 

 

He rules his country in a way he desires like a hawk flies high in the sky like a king. He has limitless powers like a king. Both have the false notion that there would be no change in their powers. 

 

The poem ends with the fact that as hawk himself that he is still young and powerful the dictator also feels that he will remain powerful all his life. But there is a decline in everything. A dictator will no more be in power he will have to lose his powers one day.

 

Question 3

 

Discuss the images used by the poet to highlight the grandeur and domination of hawk over creatures.
 

Answer

 

Ted Hughes in Hawk’s Monologue has skillfully used many images to show  Hawk’s delusions of being all-powerful., supreme, dominant, arrogant, callous, and self-centered. These images, in fact, bring out myopic thinking of the dictators.
 
At the beginning of the poem, the image of the hawk’s sitting manners reflects his careless style. The hawk is sitting on the top of a tree. His eyes are closed. His hooked beak and hooked feet create a dreadful picture of the hawk.
 

 

I sit in the top of the wood, my eyes closed inaction, no falsifying dream

 

 
The second image is about the claws of the hawk. He has firmly held the bark of a tree in his claws. It seems that he is holding his prey in his bloody talons. My feet are locked upon the rough bark.
 
The third image is about the high flight of the hawk in which he kills his prey according to his own will and without reason. Or fly up, and receive it all slowly, I kill where I please because it is all mine.
 
In the fifth stanza of the poem, the hawk is presented as a ruthless, cruel, and despotic ruler who can kill anyone without sound reason.. The allotment of death  For the one path of my flight is direct.
 
The use of these and other similar images highlights the grandeur and impact of the hawk’s physical strength, and domination over other creatures. The central idea of the poem is thought-provoking. The powerful people think that they are monarchs of all they see.
 
They are vain of their power. They hurt and tease others even they kill others only for the sake of their satisfaction and forget their downfall. But with the passage of time, they lose their power and glory.
 

Question 4

Do the hawk’s assertions of all-powerfulness impress you? If not, why?
 
What is the symbolic interpretation of the hawk’s assertion?
 

Answer

 

Ted Huges is a modern English poet. He has given philosophical views that are based on his deep observation and minute study of human nature. The main themes in his poetry are destruction, power, death, and violence.
 
Hawk’s Monologue is the speech of a savage bird who takes pride in his unchallenged power to kill and destroy the other birds. The poem is actually a Dramatic Monologue presented by the hawk who boasts much of his supremacy over the other birds.
 
He thinks that he is the most powerful creation of Nature and has the complete right to kill others. The poet has expressed hawk as a symbol of absolute power, authority, and destruction. The poem has symbolic significance. 
 
In fact, it is a serious criticism or satire on the dictators of the world who want to have unlimited powers for them. They develop misconceptions about their power and status. They do not listen to any reason and believe that they are the greatest on the earth.
 
Their treatment of others is based on contempt and they do not hesitate to torture or destroy others for their pleasure. But they forget that they also have to suffer from death and destruction. They do not admit that everyone in this world is not permanent.

About the Author

20 thoughts on “Hawk’s Monologue Poem by Ted Hughes | Summary Explanation & Questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like these