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In "Hyena" by Edwin Morgan, the hyena is a animal who tries to make you afraid of it. In a threatening manner, he indicates that he is "a good match for a dead lion." In this, the author is using irony. It is ironic that the hyena considers himself a good match for a dead lion. In reality, there is no struggle. The lion is dead. The hyena has to only tear at the dead lion and enjoy his "golden supper." There is no match. The author indicates that the hyena is in a struggle by the use of tear at his golden flanks. It sounds as if a violent match is underway when in reality the lion is already dead when the hyena begins having him for a meal.
This could be why the hyena laughs. He is mocking the dead lion. Throughout the poem, the hyena declares himself as some fierce beast waiting to pick your bones. He sounds ferocious, but ironically, he attacks a dead lion. What sense of fierceness is there in attacking a dead lion? Truly, the author is intent on creating a picture of a dreadful beast. However, who couldn't attack a dead lion?
Overall, the hyena is depicted as a ferocious animal. Nonetheless, the reader has a hard time being afraid of an animal that attacks dead lions. There is nothing to fear about the hyena. He will only show his gruesome fangs if he finds your dead body. Then it will not matter to you. If you are already dead, what is there to fear? The hyena is a good match for dead carcasses. He is not afraid of a dead body. He has conquered the dead body. There is no fight. He is victorious over the dead lion, but it would be a different story if he met the lion alive.
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