Where the Sleeping Tyger Lies: An Analysis of the Sound Devices Used in The Tyger by William Blake
The Tyger, written in 1974, is one of both simplicity and mystery. Within this poem written by old English William Blake, there are 13 full questions within this short 24 line work. Though many literary analysts have attempted to forge a meaning from this work, not one theme has a more correct stance than any of the others. One clear symbol within the piece is the Tyger, who represents some form of evil entity, quite possibly Satan himself. One possibility for the theme is that the poet is questioning why God would create such an evil being. This can be exemplified in the first stanza and last stanzas, where the word “could” is changed to “dare”, implying a fear of such haunting creature. The questions themselves can be considered sound devices, as they cause the piece to be written in a fragment-type state, as the only constant in this piece is its meter. The poem has a great flow, with there being approximately two strong syllables per line, for example, in line 13: "What the hammer? What the chain?”, where the two heavy syllables are “hammer” and “chain”. This creates a sense of strength halfway through each line, and at the end of each, and gives it a great sense of metric value. There are very few metric variations within the piece, with the only apparent one being the variation in line 19: “Did he smile his work to see? “. This gives the work a sense of superficiality and lack of depth due to its consistency. At some points in the poem it takes on a hymn-like quality, particularly in the lines 13 through 16: “What the hammer?/ What the chain?/ In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? / What dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp?” These lines, when read loud, give off a ritualistic feel, as though this “Tyger” is some form of god or idol that should be feared or worshipped – or both. This metric stand point helps convey the meaning by exposing...
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