‘This poem contrasts a tiger in the zoo with the tiger in its natural habitat. The poem moves from the zoo to the jungle, and back again to the zoo. The poem provides a contrast in the mood and environment of a tiger when he is in the zoo and a tiger when he is in the forest. In the zoo, he has no freedom. He is kept in a cemented cell behind the bars. He feels angry, frustrated and helpless. This reminds him of his natural habitat, his hiding and sliding in the long grass near the water hole and pouncing upon the fat deer, the way he terrorised the villagers, displaying his sharp teeth and claws.
At night in the zoo he hears the sounds of patrolling cars. The tiger in the zoo appears helpless as to be a mere showpiece and source of entertainment to people. The poet wants to convey that it is cruel to keep wild animals in small enclosures of the zoo, away from their natural habitat. They feel angry, helpless and unhappy in the cage. He pays no attention to the visitors who came to watch him. In the silence of the night, he stares at the brilliant stars with his bright eyes.