Line 1: The words “clasps,” “crag,” and “crooked” associate the eagle with age: “craggy,” for instance, is still used to describe a lined, age-weathered face. The hard “c” sound that begins each of these words also establishes a hard, sharp tenor to this poem’s tone that fits in with the idea of the eagle’s similarly hard, sharp life. The repetition of first sounds is called alliteration, and Tennyson uses it in this short “fragment” to convey a sense of the eagle’s situation.
If there is any question in the reader’s mind about why we should...
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