What are metaphors in The Eagle and what are they comparing?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This short little poem is loaded with literary devices that connect to the overall intention of the poem which is to present the majesty of an eagle.  Here are few of note:

  • the claws of the eagle are compared to hands that "clasp" which suggests strength.  The sound device in that first line is alliteration -- the repetition of the hard "c" sound in "clasps" "crag" "crooked" all conjure his harsh and strong claws.
  • As he stands alone on the crag of rock, he is looking down on a "wrinkled sea" that "crawls."  From above, that is exactly how the sea would look.
  • In the last line, his take-off and flight down are compared to a "thunderbolt" which suggests sudden energy and power.
  • Each of the 2 3-line stanzas contains one end rhyme sound which unifies the image of each stanza.
  • Here is another example of alliteration ( ie. lonely lands)
  • Here is an example of consonance (wrinkled crawls)
  • Here is an example of assonance (sea beneath)
  • All of the sound devices unify the language of the image.
  • The meter is iambic tetrameter which is a short and melodic meter, especially when the poet also uses end rhyme which creates unity in the poem.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team