The English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake (28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827) was not recognized during his lifetime. He is now considered to be one of the best poets of the Romantic Age. Blake’s work led an art critic to call him “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced”. He lived almost his whole life in London – and he produced a diverse and symbolically rich collection of poetry, which embraced the imagination as “the Tyger” or “the Lamb”.
The poem consists of six stanzas with 4 lines each. The lines rhyme is AABB. The poem has a regular and rhythmic meter. This regular rhythm is suggestive of the smithy that is the poem’s central image.
In the start of the poem the speaker asks a fearsome tiger what kind of divine being could have created it: “What immortal hand or eye/ could frame they fearful symmetry?” Each stanza contains further questions, all of which refines this first one. From what part of the cosmos could the tiger’s 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 tiger’s heart? The speaker wonders how, someone could have created this creature. How its creator would have had the courage to continue the job. Blake is comparing the creator to a blacksmith, he thinks about the anvil and the furnace that the project would have required and the smith who could have used them. And when the job was done, the speaker wonders, how would the creator have felt? “Did he smile his work to see?” Could the creator possibly be the same being who made the lamb?
In the first stanza Blake is asking a question which will be the theme of the poem, and each subsequent stanza elaborates on this conception. Blake believes in the idea that nature, like a work of art, must in some way contain a reflection of its creator. That is both the beautiful and horrific thing about the... [continues]
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