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Word Count: 468
y outset it is clear that the hawk is in control The poem begins assertively with the pronoun I The hawk is so secure in his position that he is able to announce the fact that he is resting inaction with his eyes closed There is no falsifying dream - he has nothing to hide - between his hooked head and hooked feet The repetition of hooked puts the reader on guard - it sounds slightly sinister This idea is confirmed when the hawk goes on to say that his dreams are single-minded he rehearses perfect kills He is portrayed almost like a military dictator The irony in the statement My manners are tearing off heads is intentional the hawk actually seems proud of the fact that he does not worry about the way he eats about how violently he rips up his victims before consuming them He is so proud that manners have ceased to matter Someone in his unassailable position does not need to consider whom he might be offending The statement simply emphasises his sense of absolute superiority Hughes published a number of animal poems during his long and distinguished literary career these were often in fact almost always harsh and vigorous painting a picture of Nature red in tooth and claw - violent grim and unsentimental but at the same time remorselessly true to itself In todays poem Hughes uses the thought-processes of the hawk as a metaphor for the mind of every megalomaniac who ever lived - the poem resonates with dictatorial phrases and turns of expression The hawk lives according to the rules of its own morality No arguments assert my right in a world where might is right I kill where I please because it is all mine - violent yes but also chillingly insightful The massive egotism running through the poem is again telling in its implications for the human world Yet the unstated theme lying underneath
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