Explain Tennyson's poem "The Eagle". 

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson is considered one of the greatest English Romantic poets of the 19th century. He held, for many years, the prestigious position of Poet Laureate of England. Like all Romantic poets, much of his work describes the beauty and wonder of nature.

In his short, two stanza poem,...

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Alfred, Lord Tennyson is considered one of the greatest English Romantic poets of the 19th century. He held, for many years, the prestigious position of Poet Laureate of England. Like all Romantic poets, much of his work describes the beauty and wonder of nature.

In his short, two stanza poem, "The Eagle," Tennyson uses sharp imagery to portray the majesty of an eagle as it perches high on a mountain cliff overlooking the sea. In the opening line, "He clasps the crag with crooked hands," the eagle is personified. Personification is when human qualities are given to something not human. In this case, the talons of the eagle are compared to human hands. The "crag" is the rocky surface where he is sitting way up high ("close to the sun") above the sea and surrounded by blue sky ("the azure world").

In the second stanza, Tennyson uses more personification to describe the sea ("the wrinkled sea beneath him crawls") and a simile to show the eagle swooping down to hunt for prey:

He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
A simile is when two unlike things are compared to enhance the quality of one of those things using either "like" or "as." The eagle is compared to a thunderbolt because of the power and suddenness of his dive. Overall, the eagle is portrayed as being at one with his surroundings and is the king of all he sees from his mountainous lair.  
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