William Blake was known to be a mystic poetwho was curious about the unknowns in the world, and strived to find all theanswers. Does God create bothgood-natured and fearful creatures? As aquestion answered in the poem “The Tyger” William Blake pondered on why anall-powerful, loving God would create a vicious predator, the Tyger, after hecreated a sweet, timid, harmless animal, the lamb. The theme of this poem surrounds this idea ofwhy the same creator would create both a destructive and gentle animal. This issue is brought up and discussedthrough rhyme, repetition, allusion, and symbolism. The poem opens up with the words, “Tyger Tyger, burning bright,” Blake says “Tyger” twice to make it seem to the reader that heis speaking directly to the tiger and it sets up the theme of the night alongwith which comes darkness and evil.
Usedas comparison to the Tyger, the words “Burning bright” compare the Tyger to fire. Both of which are harmful, strong, wild,forceful, and destructive. In a way,they also resemble each other in looks, as a Tyger in the dark, looks like afire because of its orange stripes. Inthe third and fourth stanza, Blake asks the first unanswered question, whatcreator has the ability to make something with such “fearfulsymmetry”(4)? The second stanza asks the same questionbut in a completely different way, wondering where Tyger came from.
In lines 10 and 20, Blake asks twoquestions. These questions are differentfrom the rest, he asks, “Did he smile his work to see? /Did he whomade the lamb make thee?” (19,20) Blake uses these lines to ask ifthe creator was happy with his work of such a destructive soul, Blake also asksif the creator of the lamb was also the creator of the Tyger. Many may look at this last question as ifBlake was trying to connect the evil Tyger with the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The last lines in the poem ask the samequestion as the first, who could and who would create the Tyger. Rhyme is found all throughoutthe poem and has a huge effect on the reader. Blake used rhyme and detail to create some more wicked thoughts of theTyger in the reader’s mind.
Each stanza is made up of two couplets. Because these couplets keep a steady goingrhyme, we the reader can imagine the Tyger’sheartbeat, beating as we say the words as Blake intended the to be read. Repetition plays a key role, as it gives thereader a first look as to what Blake considers prime information. For example, the word “dread” isrepeated many times all around the poem, particularly in lines 12 and 15. Because this word is used many times in thepoem, it draws the reader’sattention and contributes even more to the image of the Tyger in the readersmind.
The first and last stanzas form an introduction and conclusion. The differences between these lines get thereader’s attention and points outsignificant ideas that lead up to the meaning of the poem. There was a change in words in the laststanza, “dare” was put instead of “could.
” This changes the speaker’s intention so he’s not asking who could create the Tyger, butwhat God would create destructive animal, knowing its strengths and al thedamage it can create. Allusionis also an important part of this poem because of the way the author uses it toconnect to the outside works that may also encourage the reader to think in acertain way that goes along with the themes of the poem. The first allusion, found in lines 7 and 8,are to the Greek gods Icarus and Prometheus. This allusion requires the readers to think about gods and religion,which is a major part of the theme of this poem. Another allusion I see is in line 20, whichrefers to another one of Blake’s poems, “The Lamb.” This allusion is significant because thespeaker asks, “Did hewho made the Lamb make thee?”(20) And he wonders whether or not thesame creator who made something so gentle and pure could also make such an evilanimal. The allusion itself brings thereader to think about the other poems and to contrast the two completelydifferent messages.
The significancein “The Tyger” is powerful and muscular and allows thereader to find the deeper meaning in the poem. The Tyger stands for darkness and evil, and on the other hand, the lambis the exact opposite. The mention ofthe blacksmith in lines 13-16 symbolize the creator or God. This representation has a big effect on thepoem because it makes the poem about something more than just the animals andcreation, but about the debate of God creating something evil.
Rhyme, repetition, allusion, and symbolismare put together to create imagery that shows the Tyger as a malicious and evilanimal. Also, the question of whether ornot God could create such a destructible monster is never completely answered. The reader comes to understand that it is nottrue about the Tyger, but about its maker.
Even with so many literary devices used to enhance the reader’s understanding, the final question stillleft the readers questioning: did the same God create both the Tyger and thelamb?