The Contrasting World Views in William Blake’s
“The Lamb” and “The Tyger”
A person’s view of the world is very situational, depending on their life experiences and their religious beliefs. William Blake examines two different world views in the poems “The Lamb,” and “The Tyger.” These poems were written as a pairing which were shown in Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience respectively. While the first poem deals with a view of the world as innocent and beautiful, the other suggests a darker theme, with the narrator having a distorted view of the world he lives in.
The world view depicted in Blake’s poem “The Lamb” is of innocence and beauty. The narrator of the poem is a young child who begins by asking a lamb “who made thee?” The narrator continues to question the lamb’s origins and creation until the narrator recalls their religious teachings and answers his own question by telling the lamb “He is called by thy name,” a reference to God. The narrator also makes reference to Jesus, as he tells the lamb “For he calls himself a Lamb;” “He became a little child.” The narrator tells the lamb that it, as well as he, were created in God’s image, and that they are both blessed by God. The world view of the child in “The Lamb” is of innocence and beauty. The narrator in “The Lamb” knows very little of the suffering and pain the world is capable of. The lamb itself “symbolizes human innocence” as well as Jesus Christ (Baine, 566).
Although the world views of the narrator in Blake’s “The Lamb” are of innocence and beauty, the opposite can be said of Blake’s poem titled “The Tyger.” The narrator of “The Tyger” is most likely an adult, and could possibly be the same narrator from “The Lamb,” only now is much older and wiser. The narrator of “The Tyger” begins by asking himself what could have created such a beautiful, yet fearful and dangerous creature like the tiger. The narrator continues to describe the tiger’s physical characteristics, while...
Bibliography: Baine, Mary R. Baine, Rodney M. “Blake’s Other Tigers, and ‘The Tyger.’” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900. (1975). 563-578. (Online Journal)
Mellor, Anne. K. Matlack, Richard. E. “British Literature: 1780-1830.” Boston: Wadsworth, 1996. Print.
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