This analysis of "The Tyger" by William Blake looks at poetic devices. This includes some tips on how to do a better job capturing the nuances through annotating the text.
Begin your analysis of "The Tyger" by William Blake by printing out the poem and annotating it. As you annotate, mark lines and words that capture your attention--alliteration, the examples of symbolism, and other poetic devices.
"The Tyger" originally appeared in Blake's Songs of Experience. Its companion piece, "The Lamb," appears in Blake's Songs of Innocence. An analysis of "The Tyger" should include a comparison to "The Lamb"
Poetic Devices and General Observations
Rhyme Scheme - aabb with a near rhyme ending the first and last stanzas, drawing attention to the tiger's "fearful symmetry."
Meter and Rhythm - the rhythm is created through short lines and rhyming couplets, similar to "The Lamb." Repetition of "Tyger in line 1, "dare" in lines 7 & 8, "heart" in lines 10 & 11, "what" in lines12, 13, & 15, "Did he" in lines 19-20, and several repeats in stanzas 1 & 2 establish the poem's nursery rhyme like rhythm.
Alliteration - alliteration in "The Tyger" abounds and helps create a sing-song rhythm. Examples include the following:
"burning bright" (1)
"distant deeps" (5)
"what wings" (7)
"began to beat" (11)
"dare its deadly" (16)
"he who" (20)
The question an analysis must answer is what is Blake's purpose in using so much alliteration in "The Tyger" (other than to create rhythm(see 7 and 8 below)).
Line 1 is an example of synecdoche, a literary device used when a part represents the whole or the whole represents a part. In line 1 "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright" alludes to the predator's eyes.
Fire imagery includes "burning bright" in line 1, "burnt the fire of thine eyes" in line 6, "in what furnace was thy brain" in line 14, the entire fourth stanza's resemblance to a forge.
Line 20 contains an allusion to Blake's poem "The Lamb." Note the alliteration...
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