Analysis of Hawk Roosting

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Analysis of “Hawk Roosting”

Hawk Roosting is a poem written by Ted Hughes (1930-1998). Hughes was a British poet who often described the destructive aspects of animal life, survival instincts and the brutality of nature. His poem Hawk Roosting deals with the themes evil, power and human nature told from the point of view of a hawk. This poem therefore coheres with Hughes’ other work. In my analysis I will be focusing on a characterization of the first person and what this hawk symbolizes. I will also be mentioning the message of the poem and end the analysis with a contextualization, where I also will be answering and commenting on the two following questions; “Is man fundamentally evil or good or do we all posses both elements?” and “What triggers evil? What prevents it from surfacing?”

I would like to start my analysis with a characterization of the main character and the symbol of that character.

This poem is told in first person through the eyes of a hawk. We are not told directly in the text that it is a hawk but we know this partially because of the title of the poem “Hawk Roosting” and somewhat because of the description we are given of the main character (the I). We are informed in stanza 1 that the main character is sitting on the top of the wood[1], which could indicate a bird or a rodent (i.e. squirrel or chipmunk) of some sort. The main character also has a hooked head and feet, which still could insinuate both bird and rodent. The reader is however convinced that it is a bird by use of the sentence;”The air’s buoyancy…” which tells us that it can fly thus it is a bird. If not for the title one could still assume it was a bird of prey as we are told that it kills[2]. Hughes uses the simple present tense to describe what the hawk is doing; “I sit, I kill”[3] with the effect that we understand that this is what the hawk does every day and that it is not an unordinary circumstance but a regular situation. A hawk is a bird of prey, a predator, a...
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