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The Hawk Roosting and the Eagle : Comparison

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The Hawk Roosting and The Eagle : Comparison

The Hawk Roosting and The Eagle are two very different poems with few similarities. One similarity that is quite obvious is that the poems’ subjects are both birds. Another of the similarities between the poems is that both show the dominance of the respective birds.

The Eagle focuses more on the majesty of the eagle “ring’d with the azure world”, a very vivid creation of the imagination. The Eagle poem wants to paint a picture of the eagle on a cliff, watching from his “mountain walls” along with background of the “lonely lands” as he gracefully falls like a “thunderbolt” to his prey in the “wrinkled sea”. The poem’s purpose is to create a graphically detailed image of the eagle and his eventual dive into the sea; this is more easily achievable with the poem being shorter and compact. Hawk Roosting wants to express the hawk’s point of view. Hawk Roosting also paints a picture of the hawk, but this of a different type: it is wanting to show the hawk’s thoughts, its feelings about itself and its surroundings. This is emphasized more in Hawk Roosting than the imagery as in The Eagle. The Hawk Roosting is an insight into the hawk’s thoughts and world, a short biography while The Eagle is portraying a scene essentially of the eagle plunging into the sea with the background of the “azure world” and “lonely lands” and what he is doing before (sitting at the top of the cliff).

Another comparison that is also very clear is the use of voice. The Eagle is narrated in the third person while Hawk Roosting is in first person. Both of these voices suit the respective poems. Since Hawk Roosting’s intention is to express the hawk’s perspective of his life and environment, the first person narrative is suited to this poem. The first-person narrative is more functional here because it makes the hawk more original than compared to with the third person, making the reader feel as though it is actually the hawk speaking to them about himself and his environment. This originality is made more effective through the persona that is presented by the hawk’s dialogue. Through the use of words, the reader can feel the personality of the hawk which is ego- centric, coldblooded and domineering: “I hold creation in my foot…are tearing off heads”. In The Eagle it is the opposite, the reader does not feel the persona of the eagle, but hears the voice of the poet who is describing the scene. This works with this poem well as the intended result is to show an eagle performing an action with the background. The first-person is not needed as the reader is meant to be looking at the eagle in the scene (third person) and not with the eagle in the scene (first person).

The structure of the poems can also be compared. The Eagle is a short poem of six lines, split into two tercets of three lines. The rhyme scheme used here is AAA (hands, lands and stands) and BBB (crawls, walls and falls) for the first and second stanzas. The first stanza describes the eagle’s position and environment while the second stanza delivers the action or movement from the eagle (watching and falling “like a thunderbolt). As The Eagle wants to create an image in the readers mind, it is written more poetically also as it is a short poem it would not make sense to leave it unrhymed because there is no information that it wants to convey (as in Hawk Roosting) except that of the scene which forms the content of the poem.  Hawk Roosting, on the other hand has no rhyme scheme, but just the dialogue given by the hawk. This is more suitable to this poem; as firstly it wants convey its feelings and thoughts (which would be difficult and unnecessary to do in rhyme) and secondly it gives the poem a sense of realism as people do not speak in rhyme but in normal dialogue: in statements, questions and sentences etc. The Hawk speaks in short sentences and bold statements which gives the poem its flow (without the rhyme). There are six stanzas, each of the made up of a quatrain of a four lines. Each stanza is separate in its content (except for the correlation of the hawk) and show as the different aspects, for example: stanza 1 his place and activity at the time. There are a few run-on lines but these are to introduce another aspect of the hawk’s personality and thoughts.

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