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Macavity The Mystery Cat Poem | T.S. Eliot | Explanation |

Macavity : The Mystery Cat (Poem)

Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden

Paw —

For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law.

He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s

despair:

For when they reach the scene of crime — Macavity’s

not there!

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like

Macavity,

He’s broken every human law, he breaks

the law of gravity.

His powers of levitation would make a fakir

stare,

And when you reach the scene of crime —

Macavity’s not there!

You may seek him in the basement, you

may look up in the air —

But I tell you once and once again,

Macavity’s not there!

Macavity’s a ginger cat, he’s very tall and

thin;

You would know him if you saw him, for his

eyes are sunken in.

His brow is deeply lined with thought, his

head is highly domed;

His coat is dusty from neglect, his whiskers are uncombed.

He sways his head from side to side, with movements

like a snake;

And when you think he’s half asleep, he’s always wide awake.

Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,

For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.

You may meet him in a by-street, you may see him in

the square —

But when a crime’s discovered, then Macavity’s not there!

Explanation of Macavity : The Mystery Cat 

Macavity The Mystery Cat Poem : The poem is about a cat. The cat’s name is Macavity, who also goes by the name Hidden Paw. He breaks the law and even Scotland Yard and England’s police forces can’t catch him. He does not leave any evidence at crime scenes, which is why they never catch him.

In the second stanza, the poet says that Macavity does not exist in any other person. Macavity breaks every law and even natural laws, like floating in the air without any support. The poet is surprised when people cannot find him at the crime scene and says that he runs away quickly.

In this stanza, the poet describes what Macavity looks like. He is a ginger cat with big eyes and deep wrinkles on his face. His head is round like a dome and his hair is full of dust. When he moves, he moves like a snake. People think that he is only half-awake when in fact, he’s wide awake.

In the next stanza, the poet adds that Macavity is an animal that has the shape of a cat. He is known for being cruel and dishonest. You can see Macavity both in the streets and in the open ground. But if someone does something wrong, you will not find Macavity there.

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NCERT Solutions of Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Working with the poem (Page 51-52)

Question 1: Read the first stanza and think.

(i) Is Macavity a cat really?

(ii) If not, who can Macavity be?

Answer:

  1. Macavity is not a cat in reality.
  2. Macavity is a fictional character from a poem. In the story, Macavity is a trickster who tricks people and never gets caught by Scotland Yard Police.

Question 2: Complete the following sentences.

(i) A master criminal is one who ___________________

(ii) The Scotland Yard is baffled because ___________________

(iii) ___________________ because Macavity moves much faster than them.

Answer:

  1. A master criminal is someone who breaks the law and cannot be caught by the police.
  2. The Scotland Yard is baffled because they cannot catch Macavity who commits the crime before the police show up.
  3. The Flying Squad is very sad because Macavity moves faster than they do.

Question 3: “A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through”. (Jules Verne)

Which law is Macavity breaking in the light of the comment above?

Answer:Macavity breaks the law of gravity. This means that it is hard to find him because he commits crimes and then disappears before the police arrive.

Question 4: Read stanza 3, and then, describe Macavity in two or three sentences of your own.

Answer: Macavity is a tall, thin ginger cat. He has deep lines on his forehead and he has a big head. His hair is dusty and he does not comb his whiskers. Macavity walks around slowly but he always stays awake.

Question 5: Say ‘False’ or ‘True’ for each of the following statements.

(i) Macavity is not an ordinary cat.

(ii) Macavity cannot do what a fakir can easily do.

(iii) Macavity has supernatural powers.

(iv) Macavity is well-dressed, smart and bright.

(v) Macavity is a spy, a trickster and a criminal, all rolled in one.

Answer:

(i) Macavity is not an ordinary cat.  True

(ii) Macavity cannot do what a fakir can easily do.  False

(iii) Macavity has supernatural powers.  True

(iv) Macavity is well-dressed, smart and bright. False

(v) Macavity is a spy, a trickster and a criminal, all rolled in one.  True

Question 6: Having read the poem, try to guess whether the poet is fond of cats. If so, why does he call Macavity a fiend and monster?

Answer: Yes, the poet loves cats and admired Macavity because he defies the law and managed to escape from police every time. The poet called Macavity a “fiend” and “monster” to show that he was evil. The poet said these things about Macavity because he wanted to make him seem like a bad guy who is quick in movement and who always manages to escape before the police arrives. The poet might have seen some mysterious eyes on his cat which made him think of an evil character who is corrupt by nature.

Question 7: Has the poet used exaggeration for special effect? Find a few examples of it and read those lines aloud.

Answer: Yes, the poet in this poem has used many exaggerations. He says that Macavity defied gravity and was a monster of depravity. This is to show how mysterious he is. The Scotland Yard and the Flying Squad are in despair because they can’t catch him even when he escapes before they show up.

Some examples of these exaggerations from the poem are give below:

  1. ‘He’s called the Hidden Paw.’
  2. ‘He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair.’
  3. ‘He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.’
  4. ‘His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare.’
  5. ‘For he’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.’

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