The Tyger By William Blake

The Tyger By William Blake

Introducing the Poem ‘The Tyger’

‘The Tyger’ is an eminent lyrical poem of William Blake (1757-1827) from his radical period. It was published in his poetry collection entitled ‘Songs of Experience (1794)’ that comprises some of his famous poems with poignant themes (of what happens when innocence is lost).

Poem The Tyger
Poet William Blake
PoemEminent lyrical Short poem
Rhyme scheme aabb (six stanzas of four lines) trochaic tetrameter catalectic
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 seize 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 water'd 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?

One more thing, people often read this poem of Blake with his other renowned poem ‘The Lamb’ (It is a poem of William Blake’s one more poetry collection that is called ‘Songs of the Innocence’ 1789). This article will provide a critical summary and analysis of the poem ‘The Tyger’ in very easy language.

The Tyger Summary and Analysis

‘The Tyger’ is a poem that has a series of (wh) questions. The speaker of the poem is mystified at the sight of a tiger when he sees him in the night. He is curious/wants to know so many things about the animal as well as the creator who created it.

So, he directly asks many questions regarding the fierce appearance of the creation (tiger) and its creator (God). He (the speaker) imagines the (or a) tiger’s bright flashes of colour in the dark night-time jungle; so he addresses him and asks ‘what immortal being could possibly have created the terrible/fearsome cuteness of the tiger.

The speaker of ‘The Tyger’, in the second stanza shows his curiosity for knowing that in which far-depth “or skies” are the fiery eyes of the tiger are/were made. He further wants to know if the creator who created this tiger has (a pair of) wings and the creator’s hand would be daring enough to create him (tiger).

In this stanza (3) of William Blake’s poem ‘The Tyger’, the speaker tries to guess/speculate the kind of effort as well as skill that were necessary/needed to create the tiger. He wonders who would be so powerful to create the muscular body of the tiger.

Moreover, whose hands, as well as the feet, are the ones that prepared the heart of the tiger to start beating. 

In the next stanza, the speaker inquires about the tools and equipment that were used by the creator of ‘The Tyger’ in creating him (tiger). He imagines that he (creator) made the brain of the tiger in a forge. The speaker claims that he who created the tiger would also be very horrible/terrifying as well as courageous.

In the second last (5th) stanza of ‘The Tyger,’ the speaker says that there was a time ” when the stars” gave up their weapons. They (stars) watered their tears in heaven.

Now, the speaker asks some more questions; he is keen to know if the creator looked at his creation (tiger) and smiled at his accomplishments. He addresses the tiger and again asks whether he is the same creator who is credited to make the lamb; also made him (the tiger).

The speaker, in the concluding (6th) stanza, one last time addresses ‘The Tyger’ wondering not just who could create the fearsome beast but who would dare (to do it).

‘The Tyger’ Form and Structure

‘The Tyger’ is a short poem. It includes six stanzas of four lines each with a rhyme scheme of aabb as well as a regular meter that is known as trochaic tetrameter catalectic. The meter’s hammering beat is suggestive of the smithy, and it is the central image of this lyric poem.

William Blake composed the entitled ‘The Tyger’ in a neat structure (that is regular) with neat propositions as well. In this poem, the poet slowly points out the final question. Though its opening and concluding stanzas are similar,  the poet replaced the word ‘Could’ of the first stanza (in line 4 ) with the word ‘Dare’ of the sixth stanza (4th line).

‘The Tyger’ (at times) is all about questions to the divine; the speaker of the poem asked at least thirteen (various) questions in its entirety. It appears that William Blake was worried as to how the creator made such a magnificent animal (creature). But, he seems more worried about how the creator is himself. 

Conclusion

The lyric poem ‘The Tyger’ is the most well known, the most impressive, the most reinterpreted, as well as arranged (shorter) poems (or works) of the mystic poet William Blake.

It focuses on God’s nature as well as his creation(s). It is noteworthy that William Blake, in ‘The Tyger’ represented the contrary idea(s) as that the expressed in his another poem ‘The Lamb’. Alfred Kazin, a literary critic regards the lyric as the most famous of William Blake’s poems. Moreover, ‘The Tyger’ is “the most anthologized poem in English”, says The Cambridge Companion to William Blake. 

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