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Power and Control in Hawk Roosting Essay

GRADE G

In Shakespeare’s play a man called Macbeth kills the king to get his power. Ted Hughes’s poem ‘Hawk Roosting’ is about a hawk who thinks he is powerful.

GRADE F

In _Macbeth_ Shakespeare writes about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who have a plan to kill the king and take over. “Hail, King thou shalt be.” Ted Hughes writes about a hawk and how powerful he is: “My manners are tearing off heads.”

GRADE E

Shakespeare shows that Lady Macbeth wants to be a powerful character because she wants to kill the king so that Macbeth can become the new king: ‘You can putt this night’s great business into my dispatch.”

Ted Hughes also writes about power, but from the point of view of a hawk. We know that the hawk has a high opinion of itself: ‘I kill where I please because it is all mine.’

GRADE D

The theme of power/ambition is explored in _Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting.’ Shakespeare focuses on Lady Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth. When Lady Macbeth learns about the witches’ prophecy that Macbeth will become king, she hatches a plan to make it happen.

Ted Hughes also writes about ambition because the hawk in the poem wants to be the best: “Now I hold Creation in my foot.” A difference between them is that the hawk is very confident about his own power, but Macbeth is too loyal to the king to be able to reach his ambition.: “We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honoured me of late.” Lady Macbeth is more ambitious than her husband.

GRADE C

Ted Hughes’s poem ‘ Hawk Roosting’ shows the world as seen from a hawk’s point of view. The hawk seems very determined and powerful. Shakespeare also presents the theme of power and determination, but the difference is that he presents is with a husband and wife who plot to murder the king and take his crown. The hawk also has thoughts of murder: ‘in sleep rehearse perfect kills’. The word ‘rehearse’ suggests that the hawk enjoys killing, and practises to make himself perfect – even when asleep. This also suggests that he is proud of himself. Similarly, in _Macbeth_ Lady Macbeth is proud of her ambitious nature: ‘O never/Shall sun that morrow see.’ She has murderous thoughts and she will kill the king that night.

GRADE B

_Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting’ both seem to be about power and ambition. In ‘Hawk Roosting’ the speaker is a hawk who describes his view of the world: ‘The earth’s face upward for my inspection.’ This image suggests how the hawk is very confident that the world is there to suit his needs. It is in the form of a statement, which adds to the feelings of the hawk’s confidence.

Lady Macbeth is also very powerful at the beginning of the play. She wants Macbeth to entertain the guests while she prepares to kill King Duncan. When hatching the plan, she says to her husband, ‘Leave all the rest to me’. This implies that she feels that she is more capable to commit the crime than Macbeth. The audience will see her as more ambitious at this point.

GRADE A

Although _Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting’ differ in form, there are distinct links that can be drawn between them. They both concern power and ambition and how a character’s persona is formed by their self-belief, and what they are prepared to do to achieve their aims. In both texts we are given an insight into the characters’ innermost thoughts. In ‘Hawk Roosting’, because the poem is written in the first person, in the form of a dramatic monologue, we gain a great insight into the speaker’s confidence. The hawk starkly portrays how he feels that the world is there for his ‘convenience’. He arrogantly describes how the ‘air’s buoyancy’ and ‘sun’s ray’ are ‘of advantage’ to him.

Similarly, Lady Macbeth initially believes that the crown is her right, and shows her desire for achieving it: ‘Take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers.’ The fact that she is calling on spirits to give her the strength to act implies that she will stop at nothing to achieve her aim. An audience may view this as a shocking, evil and ruthlessly ambitious act.

GRADE A*

_Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting’ share some common ground in that they are concerned with the unpleasant side of power and ambition. The main characters in both texts appear to be overly confident and assured. ‘Hawk Roosting’ is a dramatic monologue spoken by a non-human voice, a hawk. We are provided with a series of images which depict the hawk’s arrogance and pride. Indeed. The hawk is brimming with superiority: ‘It took the whole of Creation/To produce my foot, my each feather.’ The hawk is seemingly bragging and delighting in how magnificent it appears.

This can be directly compared to Lady Macbeth. The way she belittles her husband, referring to him as ‘afeard’ and ‘a coward’ reveals her merciless ambition to become queen. She, like the hawk, feels that she deserves to be ‘great’, and wants her husband to share the power; he calls her ‘My dearest partner of greatness.’

COMPARING _MACBETH_ AND _HAWK ROOSTING_ – SAMPLE ANSWERS (THEME = POWER AND AMBITION)

1. Although _Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting’ differ in form, there are distinct links that can be drawn between them. They both concern power and ambition and how a character’s persona is formed by their self-belief, and what they are prepared to do to achieve their aims. In both texts we are given an insight into the characters’ innermost thoughts. In ‘Hawk Roosting’, because the poem is written in the first person, in the form of a dramatic monologue, we gain a great insight into the speaker’s confidence. The hawk starkly portrays how he feels that the world is there for his ‘convenience’. He arrogantly describes how the ‘air’s buoyancy’ and ‘sun’s ray’ are ‘of advantage’ to him.

Similarly, Lady Macbeth initially believes that the crown is her right, and shows her desire for achieving it: ‘Take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers.’ The fact that she is calling on spirits to give her the strength to act implies that she will stop at nothing to achieve her aim. An audience may view this as a shocking, evil and ruthlessly ambitious act.

2. The theme of power/ambition is explored in _Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting.’ Shakespeare focuses on Lady Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth. When Lady Macbeth learns about the witches’ prophecy that Macbeth will become king, she hatches a plan to make it happen.

Ted Hughes also writes about ambition because the hawk in the poem wants to be the best: “Now I hold Creation in my foot.” A difference between them is that the hawk is very confident about his own power, but Macbeth is too loyal to the king to be able to reach his ambition: “We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honoured me of late.” Lady Macbeth is more ambitious than her husband.

3. _Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting’ both seem to be about power and ambition. In ‘Hawk Roosting’ the speaker is a hawk who describes his view of the world: ‘The earth’s face upward for my inspection.’ This image suggests how the hawk is very confident that the world is there to suit his needs. It is in the form of a statement, which adds to the feelings of the hawk’s confidence.

Lady Macbeth is also very powerful at the beginning of the play. She wants Macbeth to entertain the guests while she prepares to kill King Duncan. When hatching the plan, she says to her husband, ‘Leave all the rest to me’. This implies that she feels that she is more capable to commit the crime than Macbeth. The audience will see her as more ambitious at this point.

4. Shakespeare shows that Lady Macbeth wants to be a powerful character because she wants to kill the king so that Macbeth can become the new king: ‘You can putt this night’s great business into my dispatch.”

Ted Hughes also writes about power, but from the point of view of a hawk. We know that the hawk has a high opinion of itself: ‘I kill where I please because it is all mine.’

5. _Macbeth_ and ‘Hawk Roosting’ share some common ground in that they are concerned with the unpleasant side of power and ambition. The main characters in both texts appear to be overly confident and assured. ‘Hawk Roosting’ is a dramatic monologue spoken by a non-human voice, a hawk. We are provided with a series of images which depict the hawk’s arrogance and pride. Indeed. The hawk is brimming with superiority: ‘It took the whole of Creation/To produce my foot, my each feather.’ The hawk is seemingly bragging and delighting in how magnificent it appears.

This can be directly compared to Lady Macbeth. The way she belittles her husband, referring to him as ‘afeard’ and ‘a coward’ reveals her merciless ambition to become queen. She, like the hawk, feels that she deserves to be ‘great’, and wants her husband to share the power; he calls her ‘My dearest partner of greatness.’

6. In _Macbeth_ Shakespeare writes about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth who have a plan to kill the king and take over. “Hail, King thou shalt be.” Ted Hughes writes about a hawk and how powerful he is: “My manners are tearing off heads.”

7. In Shakespeare’s play a man called Macbeth kills the king to get his power. Ted Hughes’s poem ‘Hawk Roosting’ is about a hawk who thinks he is powerful.

8. Ted Hughes’s poem ‘Hawk Roosting’ shows the world as seen from a hawk’s point of view. The hawk seems very determined and powerful. Shakespeare also presents the theme of power and determination, but the difference is that he presents is with a husband and wife who plot to murder the king and take his crown. The hawk also has thoughts of murder: ‘in sleep rehearse perfect kills’. The word ‘rehearse’ suggests that the hawk enjoys killing, and practises to make himself perfect – even when asleep. This also suggests that he is proud of himself. Similarly, in _Macbeth_ Lady Macbeth is proud of her ambitious nature: ‘O never/Shall sun that morrow see.’ She has murderous thoughts and she will kill the king that night.


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