An English gentleman turned pirate captain doesn’t swear vengeance against a flying child out of the blue.
My theory is than Hook has several compelling reasons for despising Peter, but he is not consciously aware of any of them.
The most important reason Hook hates Peter is: Hook hates himself.
In The Gay Adventures, we delve into who these people were BEFORE Neverland, and why they are the way they are. James (Hook before he became Hook), never felt loved or ‘seen’ by his parents. This segment of his past will be based off of JM Barrie’s own relationship with his mother. Barrie spent his who life trying to bring his mother Margaret out of the depression she sunk into when her son David died. And he NEVER got from her what he ultimately wanted.
The character of Hook has a similar void which has never been filled. And since he never felt loved by his mother, he is convinced that he himself is ultimately unlovable.
He was also raised in an uptight 19th century British household which specialized in psychological repression. Peter symbolizes the freedom and fun of childhood which Hook never experienced. Instead of now allowing himself to relax, he’s put all his energy into squelching the joy of others.
This is not an uncommon practice. Look around you, and you’ll find more Captain Hooks than you can throw jelly beans at.
Hook hates Peter because: Peter wins.
Peter almost always outsmarts Hook, partially because he allows himself to be flexible and creative. Hook never likes to be bested, but being bested by an 11-year-old in tights is almost more than he can handle.
Hook hates Peter because: Peter is a child.
Hook also can’t fathom that Peter doesn’t listen to “reason” or the authority which is adulthood. In Hook’s mind, adults should be obeyed no matter what, and he truly believes he’s doing Peter a favor by trying to teach him this valuable life lesson.
In conjunction with this: Hook hates Peter because he believes Peter has no cares or worries. He’s wrong–dead wrong–but he simply doesn’t think it’s FAIR that he suffers constant internal and self-inflicted torment while Peter doesn’t.
In the end, Peter is Hook’s “shadow self,” embodying everything which Hook doesn’t allow himself to be, and nothing in this world is more galling than someone you envy but don’t realize you do.