Does god create both gentle and fearful creatures? If he does
what right does he have? Both of these rhetorical questions are
asked by William Blake in his poem "The Tyger." The poem takes
the reader on a journey of faith, questioning god and his nature. The poem
completes a cycle of questioning the creator of the tyger, discussing how it
could have been created, and then returns to questioning the creator again.
Both questions about the tyger's creator are left unanswered. William Blake
uses rhythm, rhyme, and poetic devices to create a unique effect and to
parallel his theme in his work "The Tyger."
William Blake's choice of rhythm is important to his poem
"The Tyger" because it parallels the theme of the poem, that the
tyger may have been made by god or another harsher creator. Most
of the poem is written in trochaic tetrameter as can be seen in line
three, when Blake says, "What immortal hand or eye." This rhythm is
very harsh sounding, exemplifying the very nature of the tyger.
Some of the lines in the poem were written in iambic tetrameter,
such as in line ten, when Blake says, "Could twist the sinews of thy heart? ."
Iambic tetrameter has a much softer sounding beat
than does trochaic tetrameter. This implies the gentle nature of
god, and if he could create such a beast. The last word of each
quatrain is written in a spondee. This helps to create a unique symmetry
and to parallel the "fearful symmetry" of a tyger.
William Blake's use of rhyme greatly affects his work "The
Tyger." The entire poem is written in couplets. Couplets contain
two lines, paralleling the dichotomy of the poem, that everything
has two sides or parts. The rhyme scheme is AA BB CC etc. Because the
rhyming words are so distinguishable from the non-rhyming words, they
form two separate categories, which also parallels the dichotomy of the
William Blake's choice of poetic devices greatly affect his
work "The Tyger." He uses cacophony, which is a rough sounding group of
words, to exemplify the brute nature of the tyger and to wonder if it was
made in hell by an evil creator. This can be seen in line sixteen when he
says, "Dare its deadly terrors clasp." This line sounds unpleasant and harsh
to the ears. William Blake uses euphony, which is a smooth sounding group
of words, to show the gentle nature of god and to wonder if he created the
tyger. This can be seen in line twenty when he says "Did he who made the
lamb make thee?" This line sounds soft and pleasing to the ears. William
Blake uses alliteration and assonance to make his words seem harsh or soft.
He uses alliteration, which is the repetition of identical consonants to make
his words seem harsh as in "distant deeps" or "dare the deadly." This
emphasizes the tiger's rough nature, and questions the nature of it's creator.
He also uses assonance, which is the repetition of identical vowel sounds, in
lines ten and eleven when he says "twist the sinews", and "began to beat."
This emphasizes the good nature of god.
William Blake never answers his question about the
unknown nature of god. He leaves it up to the reader to decide.
By beginning and ending his poem with the same quatrain he asks
the question about god creating evil as well as good, again. By changing one
word from "could" to "dare" he states that if god truly did create this beast, the
tyger, then how dare he. This also helps to give the poem a formal completeness.
By switching his rhythm from trochaic to iambic, Blake shows the two
possible natures of god, or of the two creators. By using couplets
he emphasizes the dichotomy of the poem. By using poetic devices
such as euphony, cacophony, assonance, and alliteration he can
further develop his question about the nature of god, gentle, or
harsh. His rhetorical questions are left unanswered. By doing this
he leaves his readers wondering, "Is there really an answer?"