Thomas Hardy - "Hap" Essay

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Thomas Hardy’s three-stanza, fourteen-line poem, “Hap,” is a rather depressing look at how suffering is occasionally caused purely by chance, rather than it being deserved, through karma, or a higher power.
      Hardy wastes no time explaining what will be mentioned in his poem. The word “hap” means ‘that which happens by chance,’ and is a root of the word ‘happenstance.’
      In the first eight lines of his poem, the speaker insists that he would die in righteous anger at his pain, if only an all powerful and sadistic God would mock at and toy with him by saying that his suffering –which was undeserved-, has been wanted by God in his delight:
      If but some vengeful god would call to me
      From up the sky, and laugh: “Thou suffering thing,”
      Know that thy sorrow is in my ecstasy,
      That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting!”

      In lines five, six, seven, and eight, the speaker states that his suffering would be a little bit more easily bared if that sadistic and all-powerful God caused it:

      Then I would bear it, clench myself, and die,
      Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
      Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
      Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

      The speaker explains his emotions would be ‘steeled’ and ‘half-eased’ by the fact that it was not his fault. He would find solace in the fact that there was nothing he could do. He would take pride in himself and die an honorable death, because he knows that it is an undeserving one.
      The last six lines of this poem, however, shift the subject. The words “But not so,” let the reader know that what is said in the first two stanzas is not what the speaker in the poem believes to be true. The speaker asks ‘why does happiness end?’ The author then tells us that the deciders of life are “Crass Casualty… And dicing Time.” He is saying that nothing in life happens for a reason. Every event plays out randomly, and is controlled only by chance, like...

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  • Submitted by:
  • on January 8, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 610 words
  • Views: 689
  • Popularity Rank: 73874
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