Tennyson's poem is not a description of the eagle in its natural environment, but a broader reflection of the human experience. Explain.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is much in the poem to indicate that the animal in the poem can be seen as a metaphor for the human experience.  One element that depicts the human predicament is the idea that the eagle is both an active part of the world and simultaneously detached from it.  In the first stanza, the eagle is apart from the world, observing it and clinically surveying it.  This can be contrasted in the second stanza, when it actively engages within the world that he once observed.  The human predicament of being both a part and detached from consciousness is quite vividly portrayed in this poem.  There are moments in human consciousness when we are active agents within our world and passively observing it.