WilliamBlake was known to be a mystic poet who was curious about the unknowns in theworld, and strived to find all the answers. Does God create both gentle and fearful creatures? As a questioned asked in the poem “The Tyger”William Blake pondered on why an all-powerful, loving God would create avicious predator, the Tiger, after he created a sweet, timid, harmless animal,the lamb. The theme of this poemsurrounds this idea of why the same creator would create both a destructive andgentle animal. This issue is brought upand discussed through rhyme, repetition, allusion, and symbolism. The poemopens up with the words, “Tyger Tyger,burning bright,” which inthis case makes the words Tyger appear to the reader as if the author isspeaking directly to the Tyger and sets up the theme of the night along withwhich come darkness and evil. The words “burning bright”are used as a comparison to the Tyger. Blake chooses fire to be compared to the Tyger because both are known tobe harmful, strong, wild, forceful, and destructive.
In a way, they also resemble each other inlooks, as a Tyger in the dark, looks like a fire because of its orange body andblack stripes. The third and fourthlines ask the first unanswered question: What creator has the ability to makesomething with such “fearfulsymmetry” (4)? The second stanza asks the same question, butin a completely different way, wondering where the Tyger came from. In lines 10 and 20, Blake’s asks two questions. These questions are different from the rest,he asks, “Did he smile his work to see?/Did he who made the lamb make thee?” (19, 20)These lines are asking if the creator was happy with his work of suchdestructive soul, it also asks if the creator of the lamb was also the creatorof the Tyger. You can look at this as ifBlake was trying to connect the evil Tyger with the Lamb of God, JesusChrist. The last lines ask the samequestion as the first, who could and who would create the Tyger.
Rhyme isfound all throughout the poem and has a huge effect on the reader. Blake used rhyme and detail to create somemore wicked thoughts of the Tyger 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’s heartbeat, beating as we say thewords as Blake intended the to be read. Repetitionplays a key role, as it gives the reader a first look as to what Blakeconsiders prime information.
Forexample, the word “dread” is repeated many times all around the poem,particularly in lines 12 and 15. Becausethis word is used many times in the poem, it draws the reader’s attention and contributes even more to theimage of the Tyger in the readers mind. The first and last stanzas form anintroduction and conclusion. Thedifferences between these lines get the reader’sattention and points out significant ideas that lead up to the meaning of thepoem. There was a change in words in thelast stanza, “dare” was put instead of “could.
” This changes the speaker’s intention so he’s not asking who couldcreate the Tyger, but what God would create destructive animal, knowing itsstrengths and al the damage it can create. Allusion is also an important part of thispoem because of the way the author uses it to connect to the outside works thatmay also encourage the reader to think in a certain way that goes along withthe themes of the poem. The firstallusion, found in lines 7 and 8, are to the Greek gods Icarus andPrometheus.
This allusion requires thereaders to think about gods and religion, which is a major part of the theme ofthis poem. Another allusion I see is inline 20, which refers to another one of Blake’spoems, “The Lamb.” Thisallusion is significant because the speaker asks, “Did he who made the Lamb make thee?” (20) And he wonders whether or not the same creator who made something sogentle and pure could also make such an evil animal. The allusion itself brings the reader tothink about the other poems and to contrast the two completely differentmessages. The significance in “The Tyger”is powerful and allows the reader to find the deeper meaning in the poem.
The Tyger stands for darkness and evil, andon the other hand, the lamb is the exact opposite. The mention of the blacksmith in lines 13-16symbolize the creator or God. Thisrepresentation has a big effect on the poem because it makes the poem aboutsomething more than just the animals and creation, but about the debate of Godcreating something evil. Even with so many literary devices used to enhance thereader’s understanding, the finalquestion still left the readers questioning: did the same God create both theTyger and the lamb?