The Eagle and The Beetle by Vikram Seth – Summary word-meanings and Solutions

The Eagle and The Beetle Poem by Vikram Seth

Summary: The Eagle and The Beetle

The poem begins with the friendship between a Hare and a Beetle. Both were close friends and spent maximum time together. One day, an Eagle attacked the Hare. Despite repeated pleadings and requests of the Beetle, the Eagle killed the hare. The sad Beetle decided to avenge the murder of her friend. Following the trail of blood drops, the Beetle somehow found the nest of the Eagle. When the Eagle went out to prey, the Beetle pushed the eggs down. After this incident, the Eagle moved her nest but the Beetle tracked the new nest and repeated the act.

The Eagle and the Beetle: Drawing by Shivani Singh Class 8 Einstein Public School Pratapgarh

Finally, the Eagle went to Zeus for the protection of her eggs. Zeus asked the Eagle to lay her eggs into his lap and promised her protection. When the Beetle comes to know of this, she throws ‘microscopic dung’ on Zeus’ lap. Zeus, in rage, rose cursing and accidently tipped off the eggs. Knowing this, the Eagle died out of grief in some days. People say that, after this, eagles don’t lay their eggs in the months when beetles fly excessively in the sky. Moreover, the moral of the poem is that if you are strong, it does not qualify you to crush others who are weak.

The Eagle and the Beetle Poem: Word-meanings

beetle an insect with four wings; wander to move, go or walk without any pre-planned destination; feast – a large or special meal especially for a lot of people; overcast cloudy; alas – unfortunately, sorrowfully; talon – the claw of a bird; spare – leave without harming; sneer – say with contempt and scorn; puny – small and weak in strength; servile submissive, too much ready to please and obey like slave; cloddish stupid and dull person; mug human face – track find by following the marks, signs etc; tuft the dense cluster of hair around the tail; plunged jumped, dived; assume suppose, take for granted; meddle to interfere, intervene; appetite desire for food; pathetic miserable, weak and useless; least of all especially not;

The Eagle and the Beetle Poem-Solutions


  1. a. The beetle and the hare.
    b. An eagle had overshadowed them.
    c. The eagle took away the hare as its prey.
  2. a. Eagle is saying this to the beetle.
    b. The beetle had cried and asked the eagle to have mercy on its friend.
    c. The eagle was angry because the beetle was interrupting it in enjoying its prey. Also, because the eagle was very proud of its glory and considered the beetle as a lowly insect.
  3. a. The beetle and the hare.
    b. The beetle is the ‘evil clot of mud’ here.
    c. Eagle’s eggs were destroyed by the beetle. Hence the eagle refers them as ‘my flesh and blood.


1. They wandered together everywhere, went to fairs and feasts, took walks in any kind of weather, talked of the past and the future but lived for the present.

2. Living in the present moment is the best way to live. When friends do that, they enjoy the present moment instead of worrying about the past and the future.

3. She was miserable and very angry with the eagle

4. She knocked off the eagle’s eggs from her nest each time she laid them.

5. Zeus suggested that the eagle should lay her eggs in his lap.

6. The beetle flung some dung at Zeus, who out of fright, rose and shook the dirt off his lap and in the bargain also shook off the eggs that were in his lap.

7. It shows that the beetle was very clever and intelligent and she was not willing to give up.

8. The beetle followed the eagle everywhere and destroyed every time the eagle laid them. It caused panic. The fear of his eggs would be destroyed haunted him at the sight of hare and the droning of the beetle. Ultimately the eagle pined away and the beetle’s mission of revenge was over.

9. The eagle is much powerful by physical strength and size but the will and the continuous struggle combined with the application of mind of beetle belittled the strength of the eagle. The beetle did not fight bodily but made the eagle pay by losing his broods regularly.

10. That they do not lay eggs during the months when beetles fly the most.

11. The moral of the poem is that the strong who crush the weak will not be spared. They will often pay for what they have done.

12. It means that the strong who crush the weak should be made to pay for their sins. They must not be spared.

Answer A.

1. ‘Please spare my friend’
2. ‘She swore that till her dying death; she would make the eagle pay
3. Slowly tracked
4. Beetle’s scrutiny followed her flight
5. With much fatigue but little sound
1. Snared with pride
2. How do you dare
3. I’m the great God 4. Zeus’s bird!
4. Nothing can harm me

Answer B

Rhyming Scheme: aa, bb, cc, dd

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