What does the poem of "The Eagle" mean? What does the author want to show us in the poem?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Tennyson's poem is a very interesting study in the natural world and those creatures who inhabit it.  The opening two lines establish the exposition of an eagle set atop a high mountain.  The third line indicates a sense of permanence that the eagle represents in a world of transition and change.  The implication is that the eagle stands alone, above all and purveying all that changes while it remains constant.  This idea continues in the second stanza, where the eagle watches the water as well as the earth beneath, apart and distinct from it.  The closing line shows that the eagle partakes in this setting, becoming a natural part of it.  The eagle comes to represent a sense of detachment and activity simultaneously.