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This paper debates the importance of Ted Hughes’s view on real life by
depicting the images of beasts in his poetry and findings of the relationship
between humans and animals. It investigates different features like imagination
of beasts in Ted’s poetry from his real life observation on animals’ traits and
use in imagery to produce a real impact of these images in human life and relationship
between reality and imagination.

Key words: Ted Hughes, animal poems,
human and animals imagery

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Hughes was a Poet Laureate in 1984 and his poetry is full of different themes.
At the age of seven, his family moved to Maxborough, town in South Yorkshire.
This movement preserved an abundant change in his life and established his
interest in country life and he was used to love animals and birds. He wanted
to keep these animals with himself to enjoy their company and his interest
remained in his all life. He was a good hunter as well and had a great vivid
experience of nature and animals. His observation from childhood turned to his
poetry and human-animals relationship is clearly visible in his poetry. Later
he was regarded as “Animal Poet” or “Nature Poet” and he shown his philosophical approach of life in animals
and their impact in human real life. He was used to collect different species
of animals, he wrote:

    “An animal
I never succeeded in keeping alive is the fox. I always frustrated, twice by a
farmer who killed cubs I had caught before could not get to them, and once by a
poultry keeper who freed my cub while his dog waited”

graduated in 1954 and moved to London, where he worked as a zoo-attendant and
gardener and script reader as well. His deeper analysis on animals is actually
analysis of human life and traits in real life.


The imagery of Animals in Hughes’s

poems are very interesting and are the finest work in the stream of English Poetry;
these poems are catchy and favor winning. The great art of observation and
vividness is clearly visible in Hughes poems where transforming of his personal
experience in poetry, makes him as a nature poet or animal poet. These poems
are somewhat graphic and gives us sense of cruelity and realistic approach in
real life. These animals are well prepared with natural features of killing and
wildness; it shows the brutality, violence and destructive art in their nature.
Hughes’ reflection of cruel nature stood him among the poets of violence and
nature as well. These images enfold two sides of picture- one is to show the
vivid glimpse of animals and other is symbolic logic, which lead us to real
aspects of life and tendency towards human nature with reference to animals’

Hughes learnt the experience that though wild world was at the mercy of human
world, yet human world is captivated by the animals’ instincts.

            “For Hughes , the nature ultimate
unsayable resides in nature, not in the structure of language itself our
logocentricism is what alienates us from nature, it already too much
demystifying though in sense , as a materialist , deconstructing idealist
myths, Hughes wishes to remystify , to re-invest in the mystery of nature and
being”  (UNDERHILL -278)

Violence in the Images of Beasts and
Reflection of Real Man Life

  Important subject of Hughes poetry is the usage
of animals’ imagery for different causes. To exhibit the brutalgallant struggle
between virtuous and malevolent that ensues in wildlife, to expose nature and
its existences, andto use the wildlife as symbol for human survival. 

animal poems, Hughes expresses his experience and imagery of beasts and deadliest
nature of these beasts, how they survive and keep themselves befitting in wild
life and somewhat all this reflects the nature of human being. Like in his poem
juguar, pike, hawks monologue and Thrashes, brutality and wildness are
visible. In his poem The Pike; cruelty
of nature is on the peak, “Killers from
the egg,” when a pike-fish kills others clan and sometimes own young when
nothings to eat have. It has inborn capacity to kill from the day first.

“Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.

Three we kept behind glass,

Suddenly there were two.

Finally one”.


is very grasping, greedy and killers from its first day, when they are hungry,
they attack on other and until the strongest left. Here not only the nature of animal
is visible but nature of human instinct is clearly visible, how a strong one
eats the rights of other weaker and in wild the life goes in same,”Might is right”, in world stronger gets
more strong position and weaker turned to death at last. For Hughes human laws
are no more different from wild laws and somewhat he realizes more than
Tennyson did: “nature red in tooth and claw.”

 In Hawks Monologue, a hawk is more than a
dictator and left no one spare from his power and “I kill where I please because it is all mine” and more:

It took the whole

To produce my foot, my
each feather:

Now I hold Creation in
my foot

Or fly up, and revolve
it all slowly—

The sun is behind me.

Nothing has changed since
I began.

My eye has permitted no

I am going to keep
things like this.

hawk is treating himself as a mini-god, who never permit happening of anything
without his will. All the creation is in his foot and serving him, even sun is
bound to his orders. In real human life many dictators reflects the same traits
as Hughes’ hawk, “tearing off heads” is common to underneath others and to show
victory over the defeated one.

the thrushes, Hughes shown an exceptional idea of a humble bird, for Hughes, he
is no more humble but cruelty is hidden inside it also as:

Terrifying are the
attent sleek thrushes on the lawn,

More coiled steel than
living — a poised

Dark deadly eye, those
delicate legs

Triggered to stirrings
beyong sense – with a strut, a bounce, a stab


No sighs or
haed-scratching. Nothing but bounce and stab

And a ravening second.

a humble bird is full of violence, “a bounce,
a stab” and gives no chance to its victim, without any wastage of time, no
feebleness in killing technique and no mercyin eyes:

“Dark deadly eye”,
yet “those delicate legs”. Here is
embodied picture of two dissimilarities, which also unfolded the nature of
human being, at same time having two traits.

The jaguar
and Second Glance at Jaguarare the
poems with full frightening sense:

still as the sun .The boa –constrictor’s coil

 Is a fossil. Cage after cage seems empty, or

Stinks of sleepers from
the breathing straw                   

 It might be painted on a nursery wall


lines depicts dramatic situation when a visitor goes to visit a zoo and found
the cages empty mistakenly but actually beasts of these cages are used to sleep
at day time and have no in mood to entertain the visitors. But definitely they
are like in deceiving mood, if some visitors get close the cage they might roar
and show anger.

On a short fierce fuse.
Not in boredom –

The eye satisfied to be
blind in fire,

By the bang of blood in
the brain deaf the ear—

He spins from the bars,
but there’s no cage to him


these lines a dreadful image of a beast in cage is visible; his brain is full
of anger and blood and these beasts are spinning from the bars but for them,
cage has no importance to overcome their anger. About The Jaguar, Ted himself stresses the symbolic view of nature as:

            “A jaguar after all can be received
in several different aspects…. He is beautiful, powerful nature spirit, he is a
homicidal maniac, he is a supercharged piece of cosmic machinery, he is a
symbol of man’s baser nature shoved town into the wild and growing cannibal murderous
with deprivation, he is an anciaent symbol of Dionysus since he is a leopard
raised to the ninth power, he is orecise historical symbol to the bloody-minded
Aztecs and so on. Or he is simply a demon…. a lump of ectoplasm. A lump of
astral energy.”

other poem, Second Glance at Jaguar, Hughes
shows a new concept of jaguar in wild instead of zoo but in both poems effect
is horrifying and jaguar in these poems represents nature in full of its
roughness, harmfulness and in very authoritative impression.

 The Bull Moses
is really a unique depiction of Hughes art of eal life, the bullis named as
Moses, who is now subservient of a farmer but was a wilder beast in jungle. He

But the warm weight of
his breathing,

The ammorniac reek of
his litter, the hotly tongued

Mash of his cud,
steamed against me.

farmer is handler of this bull and he is bound to follow his master but still
Moses does not feel agitation or sense of prison. He is confined but free as

Each dusk the farmer
led him

Down to the pond to
drink and smell the air,

And he took no pace but
the farmer

Led him to take it, as
if he knew nothing

Of the ages and
continents of his fathers,

Shut, while he wombed,
to a dark shed

the bull is assigned to follow and some duties and his farmer led him to pond
and among all his duty is to “Wombed” the cows by filling them with his
offsprings as well and to serve nature for own generation. He is like Biblical
Moses, having Promised Land and doing work for line of his raceship. 



is a poet of nature , animals and violence but he is also well-awared abuot the
human nature as well. His imagery of beasts in his poems is enfolded with
different traits of human nature, which leads a reader from empirical world
through symbolical poetry on animals’ life. These graphics are very clear in
their presentation. Hughes is totally philosophical in his art and psychological
analysis of realistic approach of human nature is main aim to depict in his
poetry. These animal world in his works leaves with
reader a sense of primitive impulse, which deeply affected both our emotions
and ration. His works help modern man recognize their own identity as both
human and animals, though they might be reluctant to acknowledge their deepest,
instinctual side as animals is gradually losing. His increasingly deep concerns
about the relationship between human and animals also enlighten human beings’
living way in this world that they should combine both human nature and animal
nature to be wholeness. Human and animals can genially live together to
establish a peaceful, new world, since human beings are also animals somehow.



















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