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THEME:

The Tyger is one of the representative poems of Blake's Songs of Experience. Its theme is the process of the tiger's creation and itsend. The tiger has an awe inspiring but well proportioned figure. Itsferocity and strength are appalling even the angels were sorrowfulwith fear at what the tiger could do, and they broke down in tears.The poet can hardly believe that the creator of the lamb could darecreate such a creature as the tiger. And yet no power other that GodHimself could design and frame the terrible symmetry of the tiger.But the poem has deeper meaning. There are two elements in life innocence and experience. When innocence i s d e s t r o y e d b y experience when such social evils as injustices, oppressions andsuperstitions seek to devour the joyous of life, the tiger (ferociousstrength)is needed to restore innocence. The tiger symbolizes thetremendous forces of the human soul which are required to break f r e e f r o m t h e s h a c k l e s o f t h e w o r l d l y e x p e r i e n c e s l i k e s o r r o w , disappointment and injustice which every human mind has to passthrough.

Background Information of William Blake and The Tyger. William Blake (1757-1827) was born in London, England. At a very young age Blake displayed a very high amount of creativity. Not being able to find an education passed a drawing school; Blake began an apprenticeship when he was 14 as an engraver. His life as an engraver actually played a big role in how his poetry got published. In 1789, Blake published a book called The Songs of Innocence. His most famous poem in this book was titled The Lamb. The Lamb is based on a Christian view of creation and how God created the Lamb as a perfect, innocent being. Later in 1794, Blake published another book titled Songs of Experience. In this book is the most famous of Blakes career, The Tyger. The Tyger is a spiritual partner to his previous poem The Lamb. In The Tyger, Blake again speaks of an idea about creation and the creation of evil. The Tyger is the opposite of The Lamb, because instead of talking about the creation of good, he speaks about the creation of evil. In the Tyger, Blake uses a very powerful rhyming scheme along with a lot of Allusions referring to both Christian views of God, and Greek/roman Gods and Goddesses throughout The Tyger. The poem itself presents a sort of strange view on one central question that he repeats twice in the poem referring to the evil of the Tyger. Who could/dare frame thy fearful symmetry?(Source)

The Tyger by: William Blake (Songs of Experience) Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare sieze the fire? And what shoulder, & what art. Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears, And watered heaven with their tears, Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger! Tyger! burning bright In the forests of the night, What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? (Source) Analysis of The Tyger William Blake structured his poem with six Quatrains, or four line stanzas. In these stanzas, he uses a variety of rhyming couplets, repition, powerful imagery and alot of rhetorical questions to enhance the piece. He begins the first quatrain with Tyger! Tyger!burning bright. Right away he uses repition to catch the readers eye. The word Tyger is a symbol of all creation. In his poem, The Lamb, he uses the Lamb as a symbol of innocent mankind, where as the Tyger is a much more wild, mysterious and ferocious ani mal capable of great good and terrifying evil. Blake then supports that idea by describing the Tyger as Burning Bright The burning bright meaning being so ferocious, being so capable, so intelligent, and having the power to do anything. Going along with the idea of the Tyger being a wild, mysterious creature, he uses powerful imagery with the line In the forests of the night. This imagery creats an awesome scene of a dark,

mysterious environment in which the Tyger is lurking. This suggests that the Tyger is like a creature of the night, very dark, very mysterious, and again, capable of doing unknown goods and evils. Blake ends his first quatrain with a rhetorical question. what immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry? The immortal hand or eye Blake uses is referring to a God. So he is saying, what God could create or frame somethin g that is both beautiful, symmetrical, and also so terrifying and fearful. The God who created such a creature is fearful because he made this beautiul creature of mankind to have free will. With free will means that they can choose to do right and wrong, and that in intself is terrifying. Blake begins the second quatrain of the piece with some imagery as well as another rhetorical question. In what distant deeps or skies burnt the fire of thing eyes? By the terms distand deeps or skies, Blake is using an allusion to create a picture of Heaven and Hell. The line Burnt the fire of thine eyes is directed at God. These are Gods eyes. Blake is asking, who was the God who created the Tyger. Was he the God in heaven/skies or was he created by Lucifer in hell or distant deeps(Source). The next two lines are more rhetorical questions whe re he asks on what wings dare he aspire? and what the hand dare sieze the fire? Again, he is wondering what God could create such a creature like the tyger. Was he a God who is sitting on wings? Or is he a God who has to work with a blazing fire (Source). However, Blake was known to like using the Greek Gods in his works. The question On what wings dare he aspire? could refer to Icarus. Icarus created wings so that he could fly free of a labrynth (Source). The second rhetorical question What the hand dare seize the fire? could refer to the God Prometheus. Prometheus is a Gode who stole fire from Zeus and gave that fire to mankind. So Blakes aksing who would dare seize the fire with thier hands. Well, Prometheus dared to seize the fire so he could share it with man (Source). Each question used powerful images to enhance the content of the text. In Blakes third stanza or quatrain, he uses yet another rhetorical question, directed to ask Who created this creature? He uses powerful imagery to provide a picture of a God literally molding/ creating the tyger. And what shoulder, and what art could twist the sinews of thy heart? In these lines, the thy is referring to the tyger. Could twist the sinews of thy (Tygers) heart. Blake used the word twisted to remind us of the free will God made man with. The twisted is also to remind how twisted or sometimes corrupt Humans can be (Source). Later in the stanza, Blake asks another question pertaining again to Who could make a frightening creature? Blake use s imagery to show how the heart of this Beast begins to beat and then once God had make the heart beat, he says what dread hand? and what dread feet? This shows how God again asks himself if he dreaded creating such a magnificent creature that is capable of both good and evil (Source).

The fourth stanza in Blakess poem begins with an awesome allusion, referring to the Greek God Haphaestus. Hephaestus is the blacksmith God of fire and metallurgy who was plagued with a lame leg and toiled under the volcano, Mount Aetna, creating weapons,armor,and artwork for other Gods who distained him for his ugliness(source). What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? From the words Blake presents and image of a God like Hephaestus,

in a dark, hell-like place,just hammering away to create this beast. By sa ying In what furnace was thy brain? Blake is implying the tyger to be made of hard, metalic Stuff. In the next line, he uses What the anvil? to again, paint the picture of a God like Hephaestus hammering away on an anvil to create the tyger out of metalic substances. To close the stanza, Blake uses alot of dark, ominous words. what dreap grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp? The words dread, dare, deadly, and terrors are worlds that describe something evil. Blake chooses to uses these words to paint an image of the tyger being an evil creature, which begins to lean us away from the assumption that the tyger was created by the God in heaven, and therefore capable of good as well as evil. The tyger and its deadly, terrors clasp is more imagery to remind us that the tyger is dark, mysterious, and horrifying (source). Blake starts his fifth quatrain with powerful imagery as well as an allusion. When the stars threw down their spears, And waterd heaven with their tears, the imagery in these two lines clearly forms some kind of picture. Blake however had some hidden symbolism in the words in these lines. It is an ol

d tale that the twinkling of stars are the Angels in the heavens. Looking closely, it can be suggested that the word Stars means Angels. So the Angels are throwing down their spears. Why else whould they do that except for during the War of Angels? There was a time that Lucifer became enraged and rebelled against God and his Angels. Lucifer then went up into the heavens and battled with God and his Angels. When it says Stars threw down their spears, it is talking about when Gods Angels defeated Lucifers Angels by using spears (Source). The next part of these lines And waterd heaven with their tears. is also speaking about the Holy War of the Angels. The Angels of God are watering the heavens with their tears because they feel compassion to thier Angel brother who follow Lucifer (source). The Next two lines of the poem are again a few rhetorical questions, however this time, they begin to suggest something different. So far, most of the questions have led us to believe that the tyger is evil, so its creator would inherently be Lucifer. This time, the questions point to the conclusion that it was infact God who made the tyger (mankind). But, was God happy with the results of his creaton of mankind (the tyger)? Did he smile his work to see? (Line 19). This line is the support for the question, was God happy with what he created? Did he actually smile to see what the Tyger has/can do with its free will? Line 20 reads: Did he who made the Lamb make thee? This is where the table turns towards God as the creator of the tyger, not Lucifer. In Blakes other poem The Lamb, the lamb is a symbol of perfection and

innocence. It is a creation so pure, unable of doing wrong. Being that the tyger is not perfect, and pure, it is hard to believe that the same God cerated both these creatures. However, Blake has intended the rhetorical question in line 20 to show us that they were infact made by the same creator, and that creator is the God in heaven (source). The sixth and final quatrain of the poem is a recap of the first quatrain. He uses repition to bring back the Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, in the forests of t he night, what immoral hand or eye. Those three lines are identical to the first three lines of hte poem. The Tyger links to mankind, the burning bright refers to the flourishing and furiousity of the tyger(mankind). The line in the forest of the night again is used as imagery to get the readure to picture a dark, mysterious environment, implying that the tyger is a creatyre of the night. Lastly, the immortal hand or eye is a symbol of a higher power. What God is the one who created the tyger(mankind), a creature that is both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. There is one difference that Blake made in his final stanza from the first one. This difference comes in the last line of the poem, line 24. In the first stanza, Blake asked Could frame thy fearful symmetry? Meaning, is God actually capable of creating a creature so terrifying yet beautiful. In line 24 of the poem, Blake changes his question to ask DARE frame thy fearful symmetry? Now, the question is not if God is powerful enough to create a creature like the tyger, but what God would even dare to create a creature so terrifying. Would he dare create the tyger(manking) with free will, knowning that free will may lead them astray from worshiping the lord. There is one central point that Blake wanted to get through to us. In his poems, The Lamb and The Tyger, it was God who created both the Tyger and the Lamb. Although they are different and the tyger is said to posess traits of evil, God knew what he was doing, and he made the tyger (mankind) to be free, so that we could live happily. The stage of the Hero Journey that is most represented in the poem The Tyger is the birth. The Birth is about the becoming of existence for a hero. In the poem, the tyger is our hero, and he is being born into the world via creation of God. The birth is when a hero first begins to realize his or her true identity by tests and natural experiences. The tyger is being born in the poem, and Blake is attempting to show us what his identity is. Birth is the begining of a heros life, and at first, they have the choice of wether they want to be good or evil. They are capable of both at birth, just as the tyger is capable of doing good and evil.
Summary
The poem begins with the speaker asking a fearsome tiger what kind of divine being could have created it: What immortal hand or eye/ Could frame they fearful symmetry? Each subsequent stanza contains further questions, all of which refine this first one. From what part of the cosmos could the tigers fiery eyes have come, and who would have dared to handle that fire? What sort of physical presence, and what kind of dark craftsmanship, would have been required to twist the sinews of the tigers heart? The speaker wonders how, once that horrible heart began to beat, its creator would have had the courage to continue the job. Comparing the creator to a

blacksmith, he ponders about the anvil and the furnace that the project would have required and the smith who could have wielded them. And when the job was done, the speaker wonders, how would the creator have felt? Did he smile his work to see? Could this possibly be the same being who made the lamb?