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This stanza reveals the extreme power(and pathos) of an animal who refuses to be degraded into a dull spectacle.Here we meet the jaguar who is ‘enraged’ by his situation and who stares out of his confinement with ‘drills’ for ‘eyes’.Such is the inactivity of the resigned incarcerated animals.
Like a messiah figure, he seems visionary and spontaneous. Mentally he is elsewhere, outside, roaming his natural habitat, moving powerfully and with deadly intent The poem celebrates this separation, this defiance through a language that conveys his imaginative agility, even when faced by the all too real boundaries of his cage.
This is one of my favorite poems by Hughes as it captures the unbowed grandeur of the jaguar, giving representation to his courage and creative imagination as he refuses to be cowed by man’s attempts to domesticate his wild nature.
The quote ‘‘the parrots shriek as if they are on fire’’ gives us an accurate suggestion of what we would normally see at a day in the zoo, suggesting that the parrots are very loud, and may be annoyed by each other.
The poet uses the quote ‘‘fatigued with indolence, tiger and lion lie still as the sun’’ to describe how bored and static the tiger and lion are, and compares them...
This is not pleasure, it is mental and physical inanimacy.
Even the boa constrictor looks dead-long dead, resembling a ‘fossil’.The parrots are so stressed mentally by their unnatural, demeaning existence that they alternate their behaviour, feeling as if they are on fire because perhaps chained; seeking attention in increasingly desperate and pitiful ways.all for a mere ‘nut’ probably bough by the visitor as they enter in to the zoo where wild life has become com modified and freedom irrevocably compromised.Sounds have been leisurely and ‘indolent’ aside from the desperate attention seeking ‘strut’ of the poor parrots.Hughes deliberately disorientates the reader by the quizzical ‘who’ that deliberately elides the spectator with the (new) spectacle; namely the jaguar.Boredom dominates the lives of the animals described in the opening stanza.Even the normally irritating fleas have become a matter of affectionate interest to the apes as their lives are so dull, that even fleas seem deserving of tenderness.Visitors can hardly tell if the cages are occupied or not.The immobility of the lions and tigers is emphasized by the way the enjambment spills over indolently into the second stanza. Wild creatures’ Lives have become reduced to repetition and monotony.The dismissal of ‘these’ animals reveals how incarceration has reduced the snakes, the lions and tigers to beings regarded as a mere group of uninteresting objects, deprived of their natural vitality and therefore unjustly now dismissed.Humans crave sensations and excitement and only the untamed, proud and frustrated jaguar can give the visitors what they believe they have ‘bought’ of paid for.