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How does Hughes convey his sense of the Power of nature in this poem?

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Louis Falgas 3eme "How does Hughes convey his sense of the Power of nature in this poem?" Ted Hughes uses the jaguar to picture nature. This powerful, dark and mysterious creature shows the almightiness of animals. Whereas most of the animals in the zoo are "fatigued with indolence", the jaguar still rages and runs in his cage. The poem can be interpreted in many ways. One can picture it as an image of the violence of the jaguar, or one can see it as a symbol of freedom for Men and animals combined. Hughes uses this ambivalence to let the reader experience what it wants with the duality of the poem. The poem is based on uneven rhymes and alexandrines, the first two stanzas have regular beats suggesting the monotony of the zoo life. Then, the beats become very irregular and respect no rhythmic pattern highlighting the wild fury and effervescence of the beast. The numerous caesuras and cuts in the rhythm translate the movement of the animal, switching direction furiously at any moment. ...read more.


We find another alliteration of 's' that conveys this time the immobile and suffocating ambiance: The cage "stinks of sleepers from the breathing straw", the air is stale there is not the slightest rage in any of these creatures who appear to have given up on any form of resistance. All we can see is the straw slowly moving in pace with the animal's breath. The simile between the scene and a nursery wall painting is particularly effective. These supposedly dangerous and king-like creatures have been reduced to nothing more than a background. Tamed by society, they slowly disappear into nonchalance. Hughes uses these two first stanzas to create a greater contrast between normal zoo life, and this untamable creature. Hughes uses powerful imagery to picture the strength of the jaguar. He imagines the jaguar running like a child chasing his dreams. Hughes wants to picture the jaguar as not only a strong and powerful symbol of nature but also an idyllic one. ...read more.


The poet uses the lexical field of explosions and fire to convey his sense of the overwhelming power of the creature: "fire", "bang", "deaf"... He also uses many "b" alliterations, adding violence to the verses with its explosive pronunciation. In the last stanza there is a dominance of 'r' sounds highlighting the freedom of the animal; these sounds added to the very evocative image of the jaguar rolling the world "under the long thrust of his heel" create a very barrier free world. The final fall "Over the cage floor the horizons come" sums up the whole poem: this incarnation of nature has no barrier and even though humans think they control it they don't have the least influence on it. This poem is a beautiful tale of freedom and liberation. We all believe we control everything, that nothing is out of grasp, and yet this jaguar is over our rules, he is stronger than our society and his cage and more limits generally don't matter for him. This poem reverses the role of the spectator: in a zoo we watch animals, this time he is watching us, in our caged society. ...read more.

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