Ted Hughes interest in Myth and Modern Poetry
Ted Hughes interest in dreams and his recourse to occult symbolism are lined with the practice of many other modern poets. Discuss
After renaissance, myth was reborn and many writers contributed in its revival. Although it was reborn many years ago yet improvements in it were necessary. Ted Hughes is famous due to his contribution in revival of myths. The main reason, he goes into dreams and gather material for his poetry, is that he wants to revive myth. He is of the view that modern poetry needs a blend of myth. In order to renew myth, one must have known its core initiation and importance. To do this, he has to see the past and gather resources related to it. Ted is greatly inspired by Greece myths. The influence of Shamanism can be found in his poetry. A technique which is used by Ted Hughes is to go in the dreams and restore belief on myths. Modern novels are fictional and most of them are based on fancy and fairy tales but myth is not the name of fairytales; instead they are believed as real events and incidents. The difference between myths and fiction is that myths are believed to be true. There was a time when people had strong belief on them. Like modern poets, Ted Hughes, recreated belief on myths. Ted Hughes himself says that in the scientific world of reality, rebirth of myth would be helpful for the modern readers. Definitely, he was true in this context. Today movies are being created on the basis of myths and they are successful. People watch them and believe that they are true. Anyhow, undoubtedly, Ted Hughes has interest in dreams and it is because he wants revival of myths.
Modern poetry is no more a pure poetry. It serves different purpose. For example, it is used to satirize the society; it spreads light on uprising events. It also revolutionizes the minds. In addition, modern poetry is also the name of symbolism. Every word of it contains a message. In fact, it is not wrong to say that every word of modern poetry describes the whole story related to previous incident. The technique of symbolism is much famous among modern poets and they use it frequently in their poems so as to make clear the subject matter of their poems. The technique of symbolism has become common and lots of writers obtained fame by masterly using this technique. One thing must be cleared that symbolism may vary with respect to society, thinking, literacy level, event and culture. For example, owl may be regarded as symbol of intelligence in a society but in another society it may be considered as symbol of foolishness. Red colour may be regarded as love sign but sometimes it is also considered as symbol of danger. Moreover, the technique of symbolism gives the poet an ability to convey a message indirectly, which he cannot convey directly. Anyhow, it is true that the modern poets took symbolism for granted and got fame due to this technique. In fact, it was the need of hour for them. Ted Hughes is among those writers, who are famous due to use of symbolism in their poetry but his style of presentation, is different from many modern writers. He uses animals for this purpose varying from their specific qualities.
Impact of World Wars can be found in modern poets. Most of the symbols, which are found in post war poetry, are death, destruction and violence. Another technique, which is related to symbolism, is irony. Irony is the difference between appearance and reality and is used widely by the modern writers. Symbolism is also broadly used by the writers but it is a bit different from irony. In it, every word is a symbol and has one or more than one meaning attached to it. The word may seem simple but its meaning may have not simpler enough. It may contain a whole story about an incident. It may present a theme, depending on writer or poet. So far as Ted Hughes is concerned, he uses animals for the purpose of symbolism. With the help of certain qualities of animals, he portrays his themes. “The Thought Fox” is the best example to understand this concept. It may be a story of a fox, wandering in the jungle, but symbolically, it is the procedure of writing a poet. The fox is symbolized for an idea, which ultimately comes in the minds of poet and completes the poem.
Common symbols, which can be found in poetry of Hughes are violence and destructiveness. Every poem of Ted Hughes is evident that these two symbols are commonly used by him. That morning, the Jaguar and the crows are worth mentioning. We find these poems full of violence. Let’s take the example of the Jaguar. The Jaguar is sketched blind because of rage, in its eyes; he is also deaf because of the bloody wrath. Every animal has certain quality in it and due to its certain qualities, it has a relevant symbol.
With regard to myth, poem, “The Ironman” is famous, which provides a key to Ted’s use of myths. Similarly, “The Ghost Crabs” and collection from “Wodow” reveals the renewal of mythology in the poetry of Ted Hughes. While reshaping the myth in “The Ironman”, Ted Hughes writes:-
“If I had concerned to write an ordinary monster story, I would have had my little boy destroy the Ironman, maybe, in the first episode. ……In psychological terms, for there are no others that you can really use, he enters into a sort of neurotic condition. In order words, a terror has arrived and the only way they can deal with the terror is by pushing it underground.”
Likewise, Terry Gifford and Neil Roberts commented on the use of mythological imagination:-
“The narrative is a journey into the imagination, or the unconscious. It moves from a realistic sea at nightfall, through the dissolving ambiguous processes of metaphor, to the assertion of a mythic other reality. The writing suggests that discoveries are being made line by line…..A fearful intuition, aroused by nightfall an the depts. Of the sea, has found its representation, which then becomes an instrument for crystallizing half—conscious terrors, as the narrative sets the crabs in motion…..”
Hotchpotch of myths and symbolism is much impressing and Ted knows how to combine both these elements to form a real mythological poem. He is standing with the modern readers in describing myth stories in his poems but he is better from them as he has stronger knowledge of myths and experience of presentation.