Macavity: The Mystery Cat

-T.S. Eliot

The poet has personified the cat named Macavity in this poem. He has endowed the cat with many human-like qualities. Above all, the catis made out to be an attractive and highly mysterious character.

Macavity is a mysterious cat who is called the Hidden Paw. This is because he is an expert criminal who disobeys and breaks laws. He has left the London police force or Scotland Yard confused. The rapid action force of the Flying Squad is always disappointed as they can never catch him. Whenever the cops reach the crime scene, Macavity is nowhere to be found.

Macavity is incomparable as he defies all human laws and rules. Along with that, he has even disproved the law of gravity because he can float in the air. The poet means that he jumps so skillfully that even a sage or fakir would stare open-mouthed! Anyone can search for him in the basement or up in the air. But they will never find the super-fast Macavity at the scene of crime.

The poet goes on to give a physical description of the mysterious cat—he has a reddish-brown fur, almost orange in colour. He is tall, thin with eyes sunken in. His forehead has lines and furrows as if he is thinking deeply. His head is dome-shaped. His coat of hair is dirty and neglected; even his moustache or whiskers are shabby. His head movements mimic the stealthy, sideways movements of a snake. Observers may mistake him to be asleep, but he is always alert.

Macavity is unique in that he is a villain and a monster in the shape of a cat. He has no moral values, is corrupt to the core. He can be found at times in a lane or at the town square. The poet uses the refrain Macavitys not there to reiterate and emphasize the fact that Macavity is never caught red-handed at any crime scene.

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