Cat`s Feline Characteristics Essay
Cats are felines. Feline means belonging to or pertaining to the cat household. Felidae, which includes, apart from the home cat, the lions, tigers, leopards, lynxes, jaguars, and so forth. (Barhart, 1959). Feline also refers to catlike characteristic of animals in the cat household – sly, stealthy, treacherous.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats is a beautiful and entertaining look at the amusing antics of cats and the foibles of people. The cat owner will recognize many situations of familiar feline habits and the perceptive reader will see quite a few parallels to human attitudes and behavior. By evaluating and contrasting the musical Cats with Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (referred to as “Possum” from hereon), we hope to find similarities between cats and people. Moreover, since the poems generally portray both the virtues and the failings of the cats being described, T.S. Eliot’s e-book of poetry should enhance the reader’s tolerance, sympathy and awareness of his fellow creatures.
More than any of his contemporaries, Thomas Sterns Eliot influenced the poetry of modern times on either side of the Atlantic. Of Puritan New England inventory, he was born in St. Louis Missouri on September 26, 1888. he was educated in Harvard and concluded his studies in Sorbonne and Oxford. In 1914, he took residence in London, subsequently becoming a British topic in 1927. He taught at a boys’ college, labored in a bank and have become an assistant editor. During his rare leisure time, he composed poetry and wrote important essays. (Untermeyer, 1942).
“Possum” is a fully marvelous rendition of Eliot’s poetic classic, written for his godchildren and pals in the 1930’s which impressed the musical Cats. The tales of Mr. Mistofflelees, the Trickmaster; old Deuteronomy, a laid-back cat; Rum Tum Tugger, a contrary cat and Macavity, the well-known master felony are dramatized in Cats.” (Dudley, 1997: 115).
“Possum” covers fourteen totally different characters and plot traces. Each character has his/her personal poem and is thoroughly discussed. There are additionally two poems focusing on the naming and addressing of cats. These chapters don’t introduce any character however function introduction and conclusion, respectively, of the work, thus effectively acquainting the reader with the character of cats whose characters vary from very sensible to extremely impractical.
“From ‘The Naming of Cats’ to ‘The Addressing of Cats’, Possum contains fourteen charming cat poems. The poems extol the traits of individual cats. While T.S. Eliot’s cat poems aren’t as well-known as his Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, the Hollow Man, and so forth, they need to be acquainted to cat enthusiasts and basic readers alike. These poems are the premise for the lyrics of the 1982 Broadway musical Cats.” (Selvyn, 1983: 1245).
Cats was first proven in London’s West End at the New London Theatre on May eleven, 1982. It was originally produced onstage by Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Trevor Nunn. It performed a total of 8,949 performances in London and its ultimate performance in London’s West End was on its 20th birthday, May eleven, 2002. It was broadcast on a big display screen in Covent Garden, to the delight of fans who didn’t purchase tickets for the ultimate efficiency.
“The present (Cats) made its debut on Broadway on October 7, 1982. On June 19, 1997, Cats turned the longest running musical in Broadway historical past with 6,138 performances. It performed a complete of 7,845 performances in New York, was considered the world’s longest operating musical, surpassed solely by The Phantom of the Opera, also composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.” (Wikipedia)
In 1948, Lloyd Webber produced a video version of Cats, primarily based on the stage performance augmented for the medium of film. It was directed for movie by David Mallet and released on VHS and DVD, as nicely as broadcast on television worldwide.
The musical Cats consists of two acts. Act I depicts a situation whereby the cats are maddened by the Midnight Dance. After the overture, the cats collect onstage and explain to the Jellicle tribe and their function. The cats then give particulars on how the totally different cats of the tribe are named. The cats in the musical aren’t named within the order given in “Possum”, possibly so as to suit stage functions. Munkustrap, a big gray tabby, who serves because the show’s narrator, explains that the Jellicle cats meet annually to rejoice. He also explains that they are waiting for their leader, the sensible old Deuteronomy, who will select which one of the Jellicle Cats will, this year, journey to the Heavyside Layer to be “reborn” to a model new life.
Munkustrap introduces Jennyanydots, the old Gumbie Cat, who sits all day and at night, teaches varied activities to the mice and cockroaches. There are folks the world over who work at night time and relaxation (sit) through the day. This is sensible for them as nicely as for her protégées whom she modifies from “that lot of disorderly louts” to a “troops of well-disciplined useful boy-scouts.” Jennyanydots also remind us of individuals with no taste when it comes to clothes since her coat is a mix of tiger stripes and leopard spots.
The second cat we are launched to, is the Rum Tum Tugger, who makes an entrance with a flourish. He is a playful prankster that the female cats discover extremely engaging. He explains how fussy he could be; he wants what he doesn’t have, and doesn’t need what’s supplied to him. The one factor that he does enjoy is being the center of attraction, which he is throughout the quantity. Then like Rum Tum Tugger don’t make good husband material and, as a husband or even as a friend is hard to get along with, and who strives always to be the “life of the celebration.”
The night takes a somber flip when the outcast figure, Grizabella, the Glamour Cat appears. The rest of the tribe shun her, for she left the tribe years ago to explore the skin world which has turn into hard on her. She who was once a beautiful and glamorous feline has lost her sparkle and is now tattered and torn. The other cats are cruel, clawing and hissing at her. In life, no one needs a loser, especially as Grizzabella left the tribe in opposition to their wishes. This, in fact, is standard human conduct. She is proud, nevertheless, and vows to return. There are amongst us humans, faced with the same state of affairs, who’re made from sterner stuff and who, like Grizabella, know that they may be “down” but not “out”.
The next cat to affix the proceedings is the hefty Bustopher Jones. A massive “twenty-five pounder”, at all times clad in a quick tuxedo and white spots, spends his time consuming and driving within the pubs and golf equipment that he frequents. Jennyanydots is type of besotted with him and sings his praises. He responds, to her nice delight, by kissing her hand. We recall some movie stars who, like Bustopher Jones, cater to their fans by responding similarly to their adulation.
Suddenly there is a thunderous crash, followed by the sound of police, sirens and flashing pink lights. The villainous cat Macavity is on the loose. The cats scatter, leaving an empty stage. He is the show’s solely villain. This character is a literary allusion to the Sherlock Holmes character – Professor Moriarty.
Two off-stage giggles signal the doorway of Mungojerie and Rumpleteaser, two black and orange Calico cats. The are a fun-loving, frolicking staff of pranksters, at all times moving into hassle with the family with whom they live. They are very naughty and enjoy the consternation of these whom they victimize. The two are a pair of notorious cat burglars. Human counterparts of these thieves are discovered all over among the members of the human race.
The entire tribe reassemble to greet their benevolent and sensible chief, Old Deuteronomy as he arrives. T.S. Eliot writes this about him.
“Old Deuteronomy’s lived a long time
He’s a cat who has lived many lives in succession
He was well-known in proverb and well-known in rhyme
A lengthy while earlier than Queen Victoria’s accession.”
Old Deuteronomy is the lovable patriarch of the Jellicle tribe. Since he’s very old, he’s normally portrayed as slow-moving. Some human families are blessed with the presence of a patriarch or a matriarch whom their progeny respect and regard with affection.
Munkustrap has prepared some entertainment for Deuteronomy. The cats perform a song for him. The lyrics are about two canine tribes preventing in the street and later being scared away by the Great Rumpus Cat, a glossy, powerful feline. A spiky-haired cat with glowing pink eyes, he’s seen as a type of superhero figure among the many Jellicles. Although a bonafide character in poetry, Eliot’s the Rumpus Cat joins a list of non-principal characters omitted from some productions.
The action of Rumpus Cat is intruded by yet one more crash from the antagonist Macavity, which sends the cats scurrying Old Deuteronomy soothes them as they come back. He beckons to them for it is time for the main celebration, the Jellicle Ball, to start. At the top of the Ball, Grizzabella reappears and against the needs of the tribe sings a short version of the track “Memory”. She yearns to be accepted, but as an alternative is rejected and he or she slinks off into the night time.
There are many humans who lead dejected lives, banished from friends and family, for some purpose or different. Grizabella isn’t alone among animals and among people.
Act II of the musical has to do with the query – Why will the Summer Day Delay – When will Time Flow Away? Still another crash from the villain Macavity. Though the cats scatter as usual, Deuteronomy calms them down with the song “The Moments of Happiness.”
Gus (short for Asparagus) the theatre cat, shuffles forward. Once a famous actor, he is now old and suffers from palsy. His companion is Jellylorum (named after T.S. Eliot’s own cat), who narrates his exploits; whereupon Gus recollects how once he acted out the role of Pirate Growltiger, Terror of the Thames and the pirate’s romance with Griddlebone. There are many getting older actors amongst us who live to reminisce over bygone superb days when they were on the peak of their profession.
Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat, is an lively orange tabby cat who lives on the trains and acts as an unofficial chaperone. He is one clever and important cat. The railway train cannot begin without him. Macavity, the Mystery Cat, re-enters with a 3rd crash and an evil laugh. He is probably the most needed cat – a grasp criminal with a horrifying appearance. He captures Old Deuteronomy as the opposite cats try to observe him. Demeter and Bombalurina sing of the evil they find out about him. When the music is over, Macavity returns, disguised as Old Deuteronomy. Revealed by Demeter, he fights with Munkustrap. (There are many Macavities among the many members of the human race. Fortunately for us, they’re behind bars.)
Rum Tum Tugger means that the cats look for biblical Mistoffelees. Small and black, the latter alone of all of the cats can perform feats of magic. By this implies, Mistoffelees brings again Old Deuteronomy. The return of Deuteronomy allows the tribe to resolve the cat to be “reborn” into a model new life. Grizabella appears for the last time and Old Deuteronomy permits her to make an appeal to the cats. Her appeal succeeds and she is chosen to be the one to undertake the journey to the Heavyside layer.
The present comes to an end with Old Deuteronomy giving a closing speech to the human audience He tells them that for all their distinctive qualities and variations, “Cats are very very comparable to you.” (Eliot, 1939).
Barhart, C., The American College Encylopedic Dictionary, Vol I. Spencer Press, Inc. 1959
Dudley, J. Reviews. Mark Annichiarico Library Journal, Vol 122 Issue 11. 1997
Eliot, T.S. Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats 1939
Selvyn, L., Reviews. Library Journal, Vol 108, Issue 12, 1983.
Untermeyer, L. A Treasury of Great Poems, English and American. New York: Pocketbooks, 1942
Wikipedia, Cats. Web.