The Eagle

The Eagle

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The Eagle


When I first read this poem my initial reaction was that this is about religion. It suggests a god-like presents, by implying that he over sees all from up above, close to the sun. He stands "ringed" or surrounded by the "azure", or blue-sky world. This creature overlooks from high above at the churning sea, and the mountain walls. No one can detect him though, because he is silent, like a thunderbolt.

After studying this work of literature for a while I have come to the conclusion that this piece is about nature, with a hidden message about a Supreme Being. To go in depth some more about this, the title of the poem is "The Eagle". The bird known as the eagle is looked upon as a symbol of our country. It symbolizes freedom, and liberty. The old saying to be "as free as a bird", may suggest, to be as free as an eagle. To my knowledge the eagle does not have any known predators. In combination of that, and how people view upon the eagle, it seems that the eagle could be considered sacred, or god-like. Another common thing that people say having to do with eagles is, "She has eagle eyes!" This simply implies that eagles have very good eyesight.

Robert Browning's poem sets a seen of the sacred eagle hunting its prey. The eagle is over looking the world from very high above. In this particular situation the eagle is hunting for fish. He is looking at the churning water below. He stands proud on his perch with the world at his fingertips. The bird is way up high near the heavens, in lonely lands. In other words the bird is always watching from above. This statement hints slightly that the eagle can over see all.

When an eagle is ready, it strikes without warning. Browning demonstrates that when he says "He watches from his mountain walls, and like a thunderbolt he falls." Like a thunderbolt he strikes down, without a sound, and completely undetected. The eagle is so fast and noiseless that you may only see it strike out of the corner of your eye, witch is exactly how a thunderbolt strikes. This act is silent but deadly.

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I can visualize so well the action that Robert Browning is describing in the first line. The powerful eagle dives down to the water, and grabs a fish with its deadly talons. Holding the prey in its claws by the throat, leaving it so helpless and weak. He compares the eagle's claws to "crooked hands", or strange looking hands. An eagle's claws are very deadly, but odd looking.

An eagle, like any other animal is part of nature. By looking at the eagle in the poem, you in turn are looking at nature. Everything that the eagle does is part of nature. The way he strikes, the way he over sees everything. I look at the eagle in the poem as a representation of nature. I don't know for sure, but Robert Browning implies that nature is infact the Supreme Being. The eagle is just a way of interpreting that. By looking at nature through the acts of an animal, you can get a clearer picture of how nature works. Nature works in mysterious ways, it can be beautiful one minute, then violent the next minute.

After studying literature, this piece in particular, I have learned that sometimes by saying very little, the message can be far greater then it seems. Using certain words in conduction with each other can somehow twist the meaning of the words. I have always had a very hard time understanding poetry. Now I find myself understanding more about the poems that I read. I have a better knowledge of the poem The Eagle after this study of poetry.
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