Poem 3: Macavity: The Mystery Cat
Macavity is a mystery cat because no crime agency was ever able to arrest this criminal mastermind during or after his committing a crime. He is too clever to leave any evidence of his guilt. He is a puzzle for every detective agency in the world including Scotland Yard and Flying Squad who are specialized investigating crime. Whenever they reach the scene of crime, Macavity Is not there. Macavity is too clever to be caught and he is nowhere near at the crime spot.
Not only does he breaks the human law but also breaks the law of gravity. His brows are deeply lining as a result of continuous planning of crime. Macavity has sunken eyes and “his head is highly domed”. He never combs his whiskers. His movements resemble that of a snake. When you think he is sleeping, he is wide awake in fact.
Macavity is a devil in cat’s shape. He is morally corrupt. You may meet and see him everywhere but whenever his crime is discovered you will not find him there.
Textual Questions and Exercises
Q1. Read the first stanza and think.
(A) Is Macavity a cat really?
(B) If not, who can Macavity be?
Ans. (A) No, Macavity is not a cat really.
(B) Macavity is just a fictional character created by the poet whose actions resemble those of a crook’s.
Q2. Complete the following sentences.
Ans. (A) A master criminal is one who can defy the law.
(B)The Scotland Yard is baffled because whenever they reach the scene of crime, they cannot find Macavity.
(C) Nobody can catch Macavity at the scene of crime because Macavity moves much faster than them.
Q3. “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?
Ans. In the light of the above comment, Macavity is breaking the law of gravity.
Q4. Describe Macavity in two or three sentences of your own.
Ans. Macavity is a ginger cat who is very tall and thin with sunken eyes and brow deeply lined with thought. While its head is highly domed, its coat is dusty and whiskers are uncombed. It sways its head from side-to-side and it is always wide awake even when one thinks that it is half-asleep.
Q5. Say ‘False’ or ‘True’ for each of the following statements.
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
Q6. 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?
Ans. Yes, it seems like the poet is fond of cats. He calls Macavity a ‘fiend’ and a ‘monster’ because he might have wanted to portray an evil side. He might have used a cat in order to create a negative character who is a criminal and escapes easily from police. The quick movements of a cat and its mysterious eyes might have influenced him to create this evil character in the form of a cat.
Q7. Has the poet used exaggeration for special effect? Find a few examples of it and read those lines aloud.
Ans. Yes, the poet has used exaggerations such as the cat’s defiance of gravity and it being called a ‘monster of depravity’ and a ‘fiend’ in order to enhance the mystery surrounding the cat. Since the cat is shown to be super fast as nobody from the Scotland Yard to the flying squad can catch it on the scene of crime, these exaggerations have been used by Eliot to lay stress on this monstrous as well as surprising and mysterious nature of Macavity.
Examples (i) ‘He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair’.
(ii) ‘He breaks the law of gravity’.
(iii) ‘His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare.’
(iv) ‘He’s a fiend in feline shape, a monster of depravity.’
Q8. How does Macavity outwits the world’s top investigation agencies?
Ans. Whenever investigation agencies reached the spot of crime, Macavity is not present there. He also didn’t leave any clue of him. These agencies are not able to find any sign of Macavity. Therefore, he outwitted the world’s top investigation agencies.
Q9. What is the most remarkable thing about Macavity?
Ans. Macavity, known as the Mystery Cat has defied all laws. He even defies the law of gravity. He possesses supernatural powers which allow him to levitate up in the air. He is so confident in his manner that whenever the crime is discovered, Macavity disappears without leaving a single trace.
Q10. Describe Macavity.
Ans. Macavity is a tall and thin ginger cat whose eyebrows are deep with lines. He has sunken eyes which gives him a devil look. His coat is untidy and his whiskers are uncombed. He moves his head from side to side and his body movement is like that of a snake.