The Hunting of the Hare

by Margaret Lucas
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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 284

The protagonist in this narrative poem is the hare himself, whom the poet names "Wat." The fact that the hare is given a name encourages the reader to sympathize with him: he is a "poore" creature, who has done nothing to encourage the men and dogs in the poem to pursue and then kill him. The poet uses "he" and "him" pronouns, rather than referring to the hare as "it," which also adds to the effect of personification. The point of view in the poem is that of Wat, and the reader therefore feels his "Feare" and "Terrour" at being hunted by these men and their dogs, a huge pack of huntsmen all pursuing one solitary hare.

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By contrast to the hare, Wat, who is named and whose thought process the poet seeks to make us privy to, the huntsmen and their dogs in the poem are depicted as a nameless pack. This seems to be a deliberate choice on the part of the poet: while the hunted animal is humanized, the men in the poem are dehumanized, not described or given names. The poet seeks to show us that their behavior is, in fact, animalistic. The hunters take their "joy" from the fact that they are about to "destroy" the pursued hare. The poet explicitly states that man is "the most cruell wild" of all creatures, seeming to imagine that every other animal was put on earth for him to "Tyramize." The dogs, of course, simply do as they are told by their human masters: they pursue the scent of the hare because they have been taught to do so, but the poet makes us very conscious of Wat's real fear of them.

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