Twentieth Century Aesop’s Fables: How Ted Hughes Presents Modern Man through the Non-Human.

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Twentieth Century Aesop’s Fables: How Ted Hughes Presents Modern Man through the Non-Human. Ted Hughes’ poems mostly explore the world of nature. He uses ordinary animals like crow, pike, and skylark, but adding mythical quality to them. Animals in his world are superior to human and he seems to adore their brutality and instinct. He does not rationalize animal, which is unlike D.H Lawrence. Some criticize him for praising animals’ brutality and putting them on a pedestal, saying that animals are superior to us because they follow their wild instinct. In fact, the image of animals he creating represents modern society. In the same way as Aesop in ancient Greek portraying human traits through animals, Ted Hughes uses animals as representative of man in the world after The Second World War. However, he portrays both behavior and instinct which are subdued by social values and laws. Ironically, the definition of humanity is presented through the non-human. Firstly, Animal instinct is one of the most important themes in Ted Hughes’ poems. While most people believe that rational being like human is superior to animals, Hughes has completely different attitude about this. He believes that human also has animal quality but subdued by values and social conducts. As a result, human has to suppress their real nature in subconscious. In his poem ‘Pike’, Hughes uses Pikes to represent human. The poem portrays stages of pikes growing up, while their violence is increased for each stanza. They are “killer from the egg”, having killer instinct since their birth. Similarly, human has primitive violence of animal instinct too. We all have hidden brutality and cruelty in us but modern society forbids us with law and order. As a result, this aggre... ... middle of paper ... ...se they live depending on their instinct while men are confined in social life. For example, “The world rolls under the long thrust of his heel”, the last stanza of “The Jaguar” gives mythical image of the jaguar that he is spinning the world under his feet as if he is God. Moreover, in the last stanza of “Skylark”, Cuchulain, a warrior hero in Irish legend, has to bow to the lark because its determination is so great that human, even mythical hero like him, cannot compare to it. We may conclude that animal poems of Ted Hughes, which is Pike, The Jaguar, Skylark and The Crow’s First Lesson are not only about animal behavior driven by instinct, but they also portray us, human beings in modern context. However, he still gives mythical quality to animal because they follow their instinct while we leave our real nature behind us and follow the rule of civilization.

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