What are the qualities of the eagle defined in Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Eagle?"  

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Alfred Lord Tennyson's "The Eagle" gives very specific qualities to the main subject of the poem: the eagle. Within each line, one can identify specific traits the eagle possesses.

"He crasps the craig with crooked hands." Here, the eagle shows its possession of strength and wisdom. His strength is obvious; hos wisdom may not be. One could interpret his "crooked hands" as a representation of age and with his age comes wisdom.

"Close to the sun in loney lands." This line illustrates the eagle's ability to be isolated from all others and still survive. 

"Ring'd with the azure world, he stands." This line symbolizes his power. Given that he stands at the top of the world, the eagle shows his power over both the literal and physical world.

"The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls." This supports the image from the previous line--the eagle's power. It shows how the eagle is looked at as all powerful, being the highest image (outside of the sky, which he can fly in). The sea is crawling under the eagle. This shows, in a sense, the sea bowing beneath the eagle.

"He watches in his mountain walls." This line shows the eagle's omnipotent nature. He is watching everything which is happening around him from impenetrable fortress (the mountain).

"And like a thunderbolt he falls." This shows the power of the eagle again. His speed is immediate, like a thunderbolt. A thunderbolt is the combination of a lightening strike and thunder. In mythology, it is associated with Thor, Jupiter, and Zeus (all gods). This shows the eagle's likeness to the gods.

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