What is your appreciation of the poem "The Eagle"?

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An appreciation of Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Eagle” would emphasizes the reader’s positive evaluation of the poem. Such an interpretation could include any qualities that the reader sees as positive, including but not limited to structure and literary devices. The poem is notable for its brevity and the poet’s skillful integration of its theme with the way he conveys it.

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In his short poem “The Eagle,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson skillfully portrays a solitary bird in its original wild environment. At the same time, he conveys a message about authenticity and boldness as human qualities, as well as stressing the importance of nature. An appreciation of the poem could take into account any of these attributes. Most importantly, it should emphasize the qualities that the individual reader sees as positive. Among the elements that this type of interpretation could stress are the theme, the overall style, and the specific literary devices. Some observations could be included about how well the author succeeds in putting all the elements together.

The poem is structured into two stanzas, each consisting of three lines. The rhyme scheme is aaa bbb. The primary rhythm is iambic tetrameter, but lines 2 and 3 begin in trochee.

The overall theme of the poem is the individual in harmony with their environment. For some individuals, like this eagle, solitude is a key source of strength. The poet also contrasts the bird’s force to his vulnerability. Tennyson accomplishes this by using mostly active verbs—“clasps,” “stands,” and “watches.” Although he ends with the passive “falls,” an impression of power is also conveyed by comparing the bird to a thunderbolt.

One important literary device throughout the poem is personification, the attribution of human qualities to an animal, inanimate object, or idea. By calling the bird “he” throughout, the poet suggests a human man. Tennyson also uses “hands” instead of “claws.”

Both alliteration and assonance are employed, often together. Alliteration is the repetition of initial consonant sounds, while assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds anywhere in the word. In the first two lines, these are combined:

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;

Close to the sun in lonely lands.

Alliteration is used in the initial h, c, and l sounds. “He” and “hands” use h. The c sound is varied as cl and cr: “clasps” and “close” as well as “crag” and “crooked.” L appears in “lonely lands.” For assonance, the short a sound is used not only in the rhyming “hands” and “lands” but also in “clasps” and “crag.” A long o appears in "close" and "lonely." The combination of these devices gives an oral unity to the lines.

Tennyson also uses a simile, a comparison for effect of unlike things using “like” or “as.” The simile “like a thunderbolt” appears in the last line.

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