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"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." - Lord Acton.

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Introduction

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." - Lord Acton. This is often true, especially when some of the most powerful rulers such as Hitler and Mussolini were bloodthirsty and merciless dictators. To many, Stalin was the epitome of a sadistic, power-hungry tyrant, in complete control. As it is often the powerless who want freedom, the world gets divided into the ones in power, the ones trying to gain power, and the ones rebelling against absolute power. Ted Hughes is a poet who uses animals to portray human emotions, such as greed and ambition. He personifies inanimate objects and emotions to bring across his message. In his poem 'Hawk Roosting', Hughes speaks in first person, the hawk as the speaker. His personal views, on many occasions clash with those of the hawk, which in my opinion is affective as it shows how the poet differs from his subject. In the first stanza, the poet very quickly takes us into the poem, by giving us an image of the hawk. It seems as though the speaker, the hawk, is indifferent about the reader's presence as he's asleep. The hawk appears to be in control, as he's higher than anyone and anything else, 'I sit in the top of the wood'. ...read more.

Middle

This is also shown through the way he describes the elements; as if they were put there just for him, to his advantage, made the way he wants. Those advantages also help him hunt and survive, such as 'the air's buoyancy and the sun's ray', the air helping him fly, and the sun blinding his victims. This feeling of possession is shown through the personification of the earth, 'the earth's face upward for my inspection', as if the earth's face, is staring up at it, in awe and inferiority; as if it is there for him to judge. After making the point about being on top of the wood in the first stanza, the poet then refers to how the hawk is sitting. As being on top of the wood is linked with being on top of the world, by saying that the hawk has his feet locked on the tree, the hawk is almost saying that he has his feet locked around the whole world "My feet are locked upon the rough bark". This highlights how the hawk imagines himself to be in complete control of everything, the entire world. The next line accentuates the hawk's perception of the world as being his, when he turns the tables, almost, on Mother Nature. ...read more.

Conclusion

If he saw no grains of truth in that maybe he does need a reason, he wouldn't have excused himself. Also, by giving us a reason for his way of life, he has completely undermined his whole basis for doing things the way he wants, as he is now telling us why he does things. The hawk then shows even more hypercriticism, as right after saying why he kills, he's saying that he needs no reason to kill, as if to cover up in case the reader feels the reason given is somehow unsatisfactory - "There is no sophistry in my body". It feels as though the hawk is trying to give us the impression that he kills just for the fun of it, and although to some extent this is probably true, it seems as though he slightly exaggerates this. This is shown through the way he appears to need no reason for pointless killings, but then gives us one, and then to say that he only kills simply to kill, "My manners are tearing off heads", which would have been obvious without him pointing this out. The fact that he feels the need to point it out shows that to some extent he only acts this way to appear superior and all-powerful. ...read more.

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